Following last night’s 0-0 draw with Brazil at Wembley Stadium, England manager Gareth Southgate praised his new generation of young players.
Against a team full of Samba stars, Southgate took the ultimate gamble, starting a number of young players including Joe Gomez, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marcus Rashford.
It wasn’t just fresh faces that the boss picked.
London born players were also represented well. 20-year-old Gomez, 21-year-old Loftus-Cheek, Tammy Abraham and Ryan Bertrand all played in their home city on Tuesday night.
Following the match, which was England’s second 0-0 draw in as many games, Southgate spoke highly of his young Lions in particular.
He even suggested he may have a selection headache come the summer when he picks his World Cup squad for Russia 2018.
“It gives me plenty to think about,” Southgate told ITV Sport, per the BBC. “We are in the early stages of piecing this team together and it gives me huge heart.
“We took some brave decisions and, goodness me, the young players have rewarded me with some top performances.”
Keeping a clean sheet against a Brazil team that started with the firepower of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus upfront is quite an achievement.
Although the Three Lions didn’t offer too much of an attacking threat themselves, back to back draws with world champions Germany and Brazil is a positive for Southgate, who reflected on a good international break.
“In terms of heart, resilience and spirit it was up there with anything I’ve been involved in,” he said, adding why Tuesday’s match against Brazil was so tough.
“We couldn’t get hold of the ball and keep it. Tonight we just showed resilience, guts and some outstanding defending and I’m incredibly proud.”
Although many football fans are against international breaks, this one was used well by Southgate.
His experimental approach, using a mix of young and experienced players, has given him plenty to think about ahead of next summer.
Two members of The Voice of London Sports Team, Kieran Soutter and Reuben Pinder, were at Wembley ahead of Tuesday’s match.
Check out what they made of the team selection and the performance against Germany here.
Words: Oliver Browning | Subbing: Étienne Fermie