Gareth Southgate believes England’s Nations League win over Belgium has shown his young players what is possible for them to achieve in the coming years.
The Three Lions recovered from a chastening start at Wembley to secure a 2-1 victory and move to the top of Group A2.
Romelu Lukaku gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot after being felled by Eric Dier but England went in level at the break as Marcus Rashford turned home a spot-kick of his own.
Mason Mount would go on to hit a deflected winner as England beat a team ranked number one in the world for the first time since 2011.
With a young team missing captain Harry Kane from the start and Raheem Sterling injured, Southgate named a number of his younger stars – and insists the experience of beating Belgium will hold them in good stead.
“I think tonight you saw the top level game where we were able to use the ball well, create chances,” he said.
“I think the penalty came at a critical moment, we had just put a couple of good moves together and we could go in at half-time where we needed to regroup.
“Going in at 1-1 gave a different feel to going in a goal behind and everything feels a bit calmer.
“You don’t get many chances in this level of game, but we did create chances. But defensively you have got to be spot on. You can’t be loose in anyway shape or form.
“The players really took that on board. We had a 20-minute spell where we were getting caught with overloads, with one-twos down the side. Lots of quick decisions had to be made.
“But they rode through that. And when you think that the front players plus Declan (Rice), plus Trent (Alexander-Arnold) are so young.
“It is a brilliant experience for them to play against a top team and to go and win it should give them a sense of what might be possible over the next few years for them.
Kane came on for the final third of the game and missed a fine chance to wrap up the win but Southgate is hoping the minutes help him in a fight to be fit for Wednesday’s Nations League game with Denmark.
Chelsea full-back Ben Chilwell could also be involved having missed Sunday’s win due to illness.
“Ben reported to the hotel today,” Southgate confirmed.
“He did a training session on his own, we have just got to assess where he is at as he has not been able to train through the week but he is with the group now.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.