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THREE LIONS' HEADACHE

Southgate wants England to step up with more goals

The Three Lions are looking to bounce back in Munich from Saturday’s surprise 1-0 defeat by Hungary in Budapest.

In Summary

•Only three players have five goals or more—Harry Kane (49), Raheem Sterling (19) and Harry Maguire (seven).

•Germany are unbeaten in 10 games since Hansi Flick replaced Joachim Low following their 2-0 defeat by England at Euro 2020.

England's manager Gareth Southgate
England's manager Gareth Southgate
Image: FILE

England boss Gareth Southgate has called on more of his attacking players to start scoring as they prepare to face Germany in the Nations League.

The Three Lions are looking to bounce back in Munich from Saturday’s surprise 1-0 defeat by Hungary in Budapest. Only three players have five goals or more—Harry Kane (49), Raheem Sterling (19), and Harry Maguire (seven).

“What is clear is that in terms of goals, we are heavily reliant on Raheem and Harry,” Southgate told BBC Sport.

“There are opportunities for others to step into that fold, because the squad we have got with us, I think Harry Maguire is the next in terms of goals scored.

“We do need those attacking players, in particular, to step forward and start to give us threats from other areas.

“Bukayo Saka has started to do that and Mason Mount has got the odd goal, but that is the challenge now for this whole group.”

England will be without James Justin and Fikayo Tomori for the Group A3 encounter, but fellow defender Marc Guehi is set to return from an ankle injury.

“Germany and Brazil are still the benchmark in terms of the countries who have consistently won tournaments,” added Southgate.

Dominik Szoboszlai’s goal for Hungary on Saturday inflicted a first defeat on England in 90 minutes since November 2020.

Germany are unbeaten in 10 games since Hansi Flick replaced Joachim Low following their 2-0 defeat by England at Euro 2020.

In 2001, England famously beat Germany 5-1 in Munich in a World Cup qualifier with Michael Owen scoring a hat-trick.

But Southgate said: “Even when everyone will talk about the 5-1 here, Germany ended upin the World Cup final on the back of that qualifying campaign.

“So you have to respect what they’ve been as a country and what they are as a country in footballing terms - and that mentality is what we’re trying to create.

“We’ve got to keep getting to the final stages of competitions, and games like tomorrow are brilliant for us. They’re exactly the kind of test we need.”

Germany coach Flick praised England’s “extraordinary players” and said “they could form three national teams”.

“Their game is very physical. Harry Kane is a world-class striker, he has a huge quality,” he said.

“It will be a big game for us and it will be important to implement our plan well.”

Meanwhile, online racist abuse directed towards Black players in the England team after last year's European Championship final has further complicated preparations for penalty shootouts, England manager Gareth Southgate said.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were the targets of the abuse after they missed spot-kicks in England's 3-2 shootout loss to Italy after the game ended 1-1 following extra time.

"We went through a process of preparing for penalties. We've definitely reviewed that," Southgate told reporters on Monday, ahead of England's Uefa Nations League match against Germany.

"But indirectly, we have created another layer of difficulty in overcoming a penalty shootout. I have got to take all these things into consideration and it is incredibly complex."

Southgate, once the face of English failure for his own penalty miss against Germany in Euro 1996, added that he would not let the potential consequences of a miss sway him when picking penalty takers.

"It wouldn't be right to not pick the players you think are best ... because of what the possible consequences of them missing would be," Southgate said. "I've got to pick them on the belief they are going to score."

After the clash with Germany, England will host Italy on Saturday and Hungary on June 14.