Gareth Southgate insists he will not be too loyal to the England players who have been an integral part of his squad in recent years, as he claimed the current group would “die for each other” on the pitch.
The Three Lions fought back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Germany in their Nations League group game on Tuesday night.
Harry Kane’s late penalty, his 50th England goal, overturned Jonas Hofmann’s opener, as Southgate’s side extended their unbeaten run against Germany to three games.
Of the 14 players who entered the draw at the Allianz Arena, West Ham forward Jarrod Bowen was the only one not part of the roster who was defeated in the Euro 2020 final on penalties last summer.
Seven of the starters against Germany were also in the line-up that lost to Croatia in the last four of the 2018 World Cup.
When asked if he could be too loyal to those players, Southgate replied: “No. We are completely open minded. Bukayo (Saka) came out of the pack and we didn’t hesitate to throw Jude (Bellingham) into the fray, which was an incredible experience for him.
“But to win big competitions, you need a lot of qualities. It’s not just about talent. You have to have knowledge and awareness.
“They tested us tactically off the ball at such a high level, with the moves and runs they made, the techniques, so reading the game and communicating on the pitch is vital. That group of players has a lot and on those nights it is vital.
“Obviously we want to try to develop others and bring that competition and give them the same kind of experiences that Jude indirectly got. But that’s a process.”
England players would die for each other on the pitch
Southgate has long been a champion of the spirit and character of his team, a belief supported by his core members who are regularly called up.
He believes determination was seen again in Munich as he praised the players’ commitment at the end of a long season.
“So many of them, when you pick the team, you look at it and they’ve been to a World Cup semi-final and the European Championship final,” he added.
“So it’s not just about the quality and experience of playing in such an environment, but also the spirit they have and the fact that they will die for each other on the pitch.
“They could barely walk in the dressing room. It’s a phenomenal effort that they put in, especially after some of them had to play longer than we’d hoped for on Saturday at this stage of the season.
“What I would say is clearly we need to look after the well-being of the players. That was part of what we did on Saturday, in view of the freshness we needed to compete tonight.”
Southgate to make changes for Italy clash
Southgate confirmed he will make changes for Saturday’s visit to Italy, as the European champions visit Molinuex during a Nations League meeting to be held behind closed doors.
He also hinted that either Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale or Burnley’s Nick Pope could have a chance to impress in goal, with Jordan Pickford having started against both Hungary and Germany.
“I think we will make changes because I think you’ve seen all of Europe: France changed 10, Spain changed eight, Portugal changed seven,” he added.
“So this is quite a unique series of games where teams think to some extent about the well-being of the players, the freshness, but they also prepare for a World Cup because they know what’s coming and what they don’t have in terms of of friendlies leading up to the game.” the tournament.
“So strategically it’s a bit of a unique situation and I think you see it all over Europe.
“I’m not going to give everything away, but we will definitely look at another keeper during this period.
“We felt it was the right way to approach this series of games and we also know we should try to give those guys more experience as well.”