Gareth Southgate reflects on a 'super outcome' for Under-21s

Wednesday 07 Sep 2016
Gareth Southgate congratulates Marcus Rashford as he comes off

England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate praised his side after an impressive victory over Norway took them one win closer to next summer’s Euro Finals.

The Three Lions struck up a 6-1 win against their group rivals, thanks to a hat-trick from Marcus Rashford and further strikes from Nathaniel Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Lewis Baker.

And the head coach admits it was a scoreline which both impressed him and flattered his side, not that he was complaining.

England 6-1 Norway

UEFA European U21 Championship
Group 9 Qualifier
Tuesday 6 September 2016
Colchester Community Stadium
Live on BT Sport

“I think, because of the quality of the opposition, it’s a super outcome,” he said.

“They caused us a lot of problems for 50 minutes but we were a real threat on the counter-attack and ruthless in front of goal and it’s a game for us to look back on and learn a lot from. 

“We had to withstand a lot of pressure and I thought they got into a lot of dangerous areas, and we owe our goalkeeper for a couple of saves early-on. 

“If I was their coach and we’d come off with a 6-1 then I’d be thinking I’m not quite sure how that’s happened, but it’s a reward for a very good week’s work from our boys.

“It looks like a great result, but I think there’s a lot we can improve upon.”

Rashford’s hat-trick will make the headlines, with the Manchester United striker making it a debut to remember with his treble.

And Southgate was pleased with the 18-year-old’s contribution over the last week, having previously been capped at senior level in the summer.

Marcus Rashford scores on his England Under-21s debut against Norway

Marcus Rashford scores on his England Under-21s debut against Norway

“His mentality all week – he came with great humility,” added Southgate. 

“He’s young, so you hope that’s going to be the case, but it isn’t always the case. 

“It’s a complex journey, if you’ve been up to the senior team, coming down. It’s an environment that people can settle in quickly. 

“I think he’s enjoyed the week and the work with the rest of the team – they’ve made him feel welcome and he’s responded to that. 

“I’m delighted for him, but there were also lots of other very good and important performances.

“I hope, as well, that the other boys that have played tonight have shown the talent that they have – there are some exciting players coming through in English football.”

The result means England are top of their qualification group, with a trip to Kazakhstan and a game with Bosnia & Herzegovina in Walsall to come in October.

If the Three Lions win both, they will be in next summer’s Finals in Poland.

“That’s got to be the aim,” admits Southgate. 

“We’re in control now with still a bit to do, but I sense a focus and no complacency at all in what they’re working on. 

“They enjoyed the summer and the experience of getting those accolades and they want more of that, so we have to keep improving every time we play – and I think we can improve from tonight.”
By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels in Colchester