London, June 8 (IANS) Asserting that he was pleased with the preparations ahead of next week’s FIFA World Cup in Russia, England manager Gareth Southgate said on Friday that he is yet to decide on the starting line-up.
“I’m really pleased with the three weeks’ preparation, we’ve given ourselves a really good platform. If it’s complicated it, it’s in a really good way,” Southgate was quoted as saying by the Independent.
England have beaten Nigeria and Costa Rica over the course of their pre-World Cup preparations, although they struggled to maintain their consistency in both matches.
The 2-1 win over Nigeria at Wembley on June 3 saw a superb first half display by the hosts before the Africans went on to dominate after the break. Southgate made 10 changes for Thursday’s contest against Costa Rica, which saw England coast to a comfortable 2-0 verdict.
“We know certain decisions we need to make, we need options, we seem to have got through the two games without any serious injuries and we’ve got to have players that can come in and change matches when we’re out there, and chase games and be able to shut games down,” Southgate said.
“We’ve got great competition for places in the team, I think we saw that tonight,” he added.
Manchester United star Marcus Rashford was impressive against the Central Americans, giving England the lead with a superb strike in the first half.
“What pleased me most is that he enjoyed his football tonight,” Southgate said.
“He played with a real swagger, he’s a Man United player and got booed at the start and cheered off at the end so that tells you about his performance. I’m really pleased for him.”
At the World Cup, England have been placed in Group G along with Panama, Belgium and Tunisia. They will start their campaign against Tunisia on June 18.