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The date England stars have in their diaries… and what was said after Kosovo win


The time and date is already marked in every England player’s diary.

Monday, October 7: Inquest.

When they report back for international duty ahead of the double header against Czech Republic and Bulgaria, minds will be focussed as much on what happened at Southampton as what may unfold in Prague and Sofia.

Because this squad has set the bar so high and demand such exacting standards, they will want to discuss in great detail why, for the first time in seven years, a Three Lions side leaked three goals on home soil.

Inside the home dressing room at St Mary’s Stadium on Tuesday night, there were no outbursts, no finger pointing and no recriminations.

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That’s not the way Gareth Southgate nor his young team go about things.

But neither was there back-slapping, self-congratulations or tub-thumping following another England goal-fest which takes their tally to an extraordinary 19 in four European Championship qualifiers.

The facial expressions of the players as they left the ground after 10pm betrayed a feeling of being far from satisfied at their night’s work.

Indeed, had anyone not known the result, you’d have thought it was the Kosovan players celebrating a famous win.

The 5-3 scoreline maintains a 100 per cent record and means that the Three Lions will probably qualify for the finals with two games to go.

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England hit Kosovo for five… but it wasn’t a perfect night in Southampton

But another five-goal haul is for the memory bank while the reasons why England conceded three to opponents ranked 120th in the world will be scrutinised in micro-detail.

“The manager was fine after the game,” said Jordan Henderson.

“Two games, two wins, some great play but some things we need to work on as well.

“When we come back, we can look at the games in more depth.

“We’ll wait until the next meeting to analyse it properly.

“There’s a lot of emotion involved when you come straight in from a game so I think it’s better to wait until the next camp.

“That will be important because we need to learn from tonight.”

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England know they must do better after shipping three to Kosovo

Few disagree with Southgate’s claim that England possess arguably the most potent forward line in world football but problems do exist at the back.

And while the Three Lions are imperious against lesser nations, they won’t win the Euros with defending as witnessed two nights ago.

“It was a very sloppy second half,” added Henderson. “We should have controlled the game a bit more and probably scored a couple more goals.

“We’re scoring some brilliant goals but need to stay concentrated for 90 minutes.

“Football is about defending at times and you need to keep clean sheets if you want to win things.

“That’s one area we need to address. “You don’t want to make mistakes but it’s part of football. So it’s how you react that matters.”



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