Southgate delighted with character shown by Three Lions

Monday 30 Mar 2015
England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate
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Gareth Southgate praised the character of his side as they beat fellow Euro finalists Germany by 3-2 in Middlesbrough.

The Three Lions had to come back from behind twice at the Riverside Stadium, before James Ward-Prowse scored the winner in the 82nd minute.

England 3-2 Germany

U21s International Match
Monday 30 March 2015
The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Live on BT Sport

And whilst Southgate acknowledged it was far from the team’s best performance under his reign, he was happy to get another win ahead of this summer's trip to Czech Republic for the Euros.

"We’re really pleased to come back from behind twice and show the character we did and load it with quality," he said.

"We were disappointed with certain aspects of our game, as we didn’t get going for half an hour.

"We were passive out of possession and we didn’t play with the confidence on the ball that we should show and that we have shown in the past.

"We’ve also come up against a side that I thought were very good, but we realise that there’s a bit of work to do before we go in the summer.

"But it was an exciting game and a great one for the fans to watch tonight."

With the Three Lions behind twice to goals from birthday boy Philipp Hofmann, it took equalisers from Jesse Lingard and Nathan Redmond to set themselves up for the victory.

And having only lost one game in 16 under Southgate, the head coach admits he was pleased his side had to battle back in adversity.

"Sometimes you have to be in that position to show the character that we did," he admitted.

"We don’t doubt it as a group of staff, but sometimes the players need to see the evidence.

"We know we’re capable of scoring good goals against top teams and playing with the same style, but controlling the game maybe more than we did today."

With this game being England’s last before the end of the domestic campaign, it’s now over to the players to battle it out for their places in the squad.

"They can now focus on an important period for their clubs," he admitted. 

"But at the back of their mind, they know they’ve got something fantastic and exciting to look forward to and I think the two games we’ve been involved in this week will only whet their appetite."

By Nicholas Veevers at the Riverside Stadium