England boss Gareth Southgate assesses his team's Nations League victory over Iceland

Saturday 05 Sep 2020
England boss Gareth Southgate watches his side in Reykjavik

Gareth Southgate admits his side produced a “real mixed bag” in Reykjavik, as they got their new UEFA Nations League campaign off to a winning start.

It took a late penalty from Raheem Sterling to seal the three points over Iceland, but there was further drama as the hosts came back to win, and then miss, a spot-kick of their own.

But with the match fitness of the players all at varying levels, Southgate wasn’t too concerned by anything that he saw and felt the early decision to rule out a Harry Kane goal really affercted the flow of his team’s performance.

"It was a real mixed bag,” he said.

"We started the game well and we were sharp for 15 or 20 minutes, but obviously Harry’s goal should stand and that would gave a big bearing on the glow of the game because of that slight anxiety that you have when you haven't got a goal.

The Three Lions took the win in Iceland thanks to Raheem Sterling's late penalty

"But then I thought, we were good until the final third, but that lack of match fitness showed in our creative play.

"Defensively, we were reasonably solid, we defended the set plays well but were caught on a few counter attacks.

"The [Kyle Walker] sending off was a key moment as we were even more in control at that stage and it's very difficult to win any international game when you're down to ten men.

"But at least we leave here with a win, which gives us some momentum going forward.”

The Three Lions now head on to Copenhagen, where they will play Denmark on Tuesday evening, with the England staff keeping a close eye on the condition of the squad.

"We're going to have to assess everyoneM because it's not just match sharpness, but training minutes for everyone as well,” revealed Southgate.

"This will have taken a lot out of them, but Denmark will have had the same.”

By Nicholas Veevers