Southgate concerned by reliance on Kane

England boss Gareth Southgate expressed concern at his team’s reliance on Harry Kane after failing to score against Italy at Molineux.

The goalless draw leaves them winless after three Nations League games and having scored only once in the campaign – Kane’s late penalty that levelled things up against Germany.

Tammy Abraham deputised for Kane in this behind-closed-doors game on Saturday but failed to find the net with one chance early on. Though Mason Mount hit the crossbar soon after and Raheem Sterling missed from close range, the goal did not come.

“We want to win games and are disappointed not to win,” said Southgate. “We have two or three very good chances that we have to take.

“You don’t have that many chances against top teams. We would like to have created more from the possession that we had. We are very reliant on Harry and Raheem for our goals at the moment and that is a concern.”

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England midfielder Kalvin Phillips believes they were the better team against Euro 2020 winners Italy despite their 0-0 draw, and says it is not a concern that they are struggling to find the back of the net.

Jack Grealish was given a start on the left after making an impact against Germany but Southgate noted that he had only one attempt on goal.

“I go back to what I am say about all of our attacking players,” he added. “That is an area that we have got to improve if we are going to progress as a team.”

Grealish’s scoring record for Manchester City has been unremarkable, but perhaps Southgate had Mount in mind when pointing out that “there are players who are scoring more regularly for their clubs” than their country.

The Chelsea man has not found the net in his last 15 appearances for England and missed a gilt-edge first-half chance to put England in front at Molineux.

“We keep working on getting the balls into the right areas. In the end, in the attacking areas, the quality of play will be crucial. There has been a lack of sharpness in those areas.”

Image: Gareth Southgate’s England are winless from their opening three Nations League games after a goalless draw with Italy

And without Kane, that could be a real problem.

“The concern is if you don’t have him for whatever reason,” added the England boss. “But every team relies on their best players.

“France were dead and buried last night and Kylian Mbappe comes up with something. Our captain’s goal-scoring record is phenomenal. But we have to start to share that load.”

Southgate praises Ramsdale’s performance

England’s failure to score did not result in defeat thanks to a man-of-the-match performance from goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who saved brilliantly from Sandro Tonali in the first half and continued to deny Roberto Mancini’s side until the end.

“He made important saves and was very composed in possession of the ball,” said Southgate of what was only the Arsenal goalkeeper’s second appearance for his country. “That is what we were hoping he would bring.”

It was not quite flawless. “There was one misplaced pass into midfield,” recalled Southgate. But his ability with the ball at his feet was a real strength. “Generally, I think the time he took, the composure that he showed, helped us to build from the back.”

Return of the crowd will help England

One explanation for England not being clinical enough was the urgency of a packed stadium was lacking. “We were the dominant team in the second half. But we were back to that soulless experience that we had during Covid.”

England were forced to play behind closed doors against Italy because of the trouble at Wembley in the Euro 2020 final against the same opposition last summer. Hungary will find a very different Molineux awaiting them on Tuesday evening.

“Having a full house here will be a huge lift for the players,” said Southgate.

“To come here and play in front of no fans, [it is difficult] when you are pressing for a goal and nothing coming for the terraces and the opposition don’t have that pressure.

“We can’t wait to come here on Tuesday when the place will be bouncing.

“At this time, we could do with that help.”

Mancini: England World Cup contenders

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Italy manager Roberto Mancini believes that England are one of the best teams in Europe and that they are one of the leading contenders to win the World Cup in Qatar.

Just as was the case precisely 11 months ago when Italy prevailed in the final of Euro 2020, Roberto Mancini would have been the happier of the two managers as his experimental side produced some impressive football at Molineux.

Despite another toothless attacking display, Mancini was in no doubt that England would be in the mix to go all the way at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“England is one of the best teams in Europe at this moment, they have many, many good players,” he said.

“Maybe they are trying something different right now, different situations, but I think they are one of the candidates to win the World Cup.”

Source : Sky Sports