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Southgate eyes winning end to England´s ´brilliant year´

16 November 2018 18:59

Gareth Southgate has encouraged England to take the next step in their World Cup healing process by booking a place in the Nations League Finals.

England can advance to the final four with three points in Sunday's decisive clash against Croatia, the team that knocked them out at the semi-final stage in Russia.

Three victories in five outings since that heartbreak, including a landmark success away to Spain, have helped fulfil Southgate's hope of avoiding psychological scars.

But the chance to overcome Croatia in another must-win match is a milestone the manager does not want to miss.

"We were very keen that we moved on from the World Cup as quickly as possible," Southgate said.

"It's been a brilliant year. Whatever happens on Sunday, we've had real shoots of progress and achieved some outstanding results and really good performances and blooded a lot of new players.

"It's given us a real depth to the squad and competition for places.

"But I think everybody wants to go another stage and get to a semi-final out of a group which is as tough as there has been in this competition.

"It's a really good game for everybody to look forward to."

England built confidence for the Wembley Stadium clash with a routine 3-0 defeat of the United States in Wayne Rooney's farewell match.

Jadon Sancho, the newly anointed Bundesliga Player of the Month, impressed on his first international start and earned Southgate's praise.

"None of these lads are the finished article and Jadon is very raw," he said.

"Some of his decision-making was really good and some not so good, but that's going to be the lot of an attacking player.

"We want him to try things and feel free enough in an England shirt to do those things. He can be really pleased with his first start."

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