England a 'work in progress', concedes Southgate

England a 'work in progress', concedes Southgate

England a 'work in progress', concedes Southgate

"We have to assess where we are injury-wise, but I won't be releasing players", he told his post-match press conference.

English football is not short of talented young players and there is time for some of them to emerge and stake their claim.

"The important thing was to stay resilient through what was a hard period - probably half an hour from the end - where there was a bit of anxiety you could see, an important save from Joe Hart, and we have to become a team who scores late goals and doesn't concede them".

"Late goals have been key and we knew they had to win. Well, in the end it is to win matches and making sure we qualified for the World Cup was crucial".

Captain Harry Kane grabbed an injury-time victor at Wembley to secure top spot in Group F but it was another unconvincing display from Southgate's players and the former Middlesbrough boss knows they must improve over the next eight months. But for some unknown reason at major tournaments we never really play to our full capability.

Harry Kane's late goal saved England's blushes at Wembley and, as well as defending his group, Southgate called for patience and understanding with the players.

"As a young team and having to deal with the expectation and criticism of their performances, it is tough for them". "I don't think you can describe the feeling". They're giving absolutely everything they've got.

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But Merson says to beat the best teams in the world, the pair need to play together up top. Since then they've only reached the semi-finals only once (1990), while they've failed to even progress through to the quarter-finals since 2006, with their last showing a humiliating group stage exit in 2014.

"But I was given the job to keep things steady a year ago".

"But there will be England supporters going to Lithuania and we have a duty to put in a performance".

Former England goalkeeper David Seaman believes the reaction to the national team's World Cup qualification has been overly negative.

"But we're there [at the World Cup] and now we build and we look to where we can improve all the time".

"We dust ourselves off, we have got another game on Sunday, we are not thinking too far ahead and (will) keep doing what we are doing and see what happens".

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