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Kane had a header crash off a crossbar, and a goal disallowed, as England enjoyed the better of the Nations League clash with the team that ended their World Cup dreams in a Moscow semi-final three months ago.

In the summer we had a system which allowed our players to embed into worldwide football but now they are more experienced.

"If you look at England's players coming through, there's a lack of understanding about what controlling a game is and that can really influence the tempo of a match and make a game move at the pace they want it to".

"We were able to get more pressure higher up the pitch, we were able to get tighter to their midfielder". We're disappointed not to have won but I have to focus on the way we played. "We should have been more ruthless". The most important thing for the team is we create chances, look unsafe, and I have faith the players who didn't score will score.

"I was pleased the players did that and was particularly pleased with Ben Chilwell, who had a super debut: very composed defending against top quality players, good interceptions and use of the ball, getting forward well".

Expanding on the thinking behind the change, Southgate added: "I don't think you should be rigid and say that's what we're doing and stick with it regardless". The 20-year-old's form with the national side reflects that at Manchester United, veering from one extreme to the other, but Southgate retains faith in a player who has already gained 28 caps.

Stadion HNK Rijeka will host the Nations League match
Stadion HNK Rijeka will host the Nations League match

In fairness to Croatia, they had a few chances at 0-0 and Spain had one of those nights where some of the goals they scored were outstanding, but everyone knows they are a team that can do that. If the Three Lions fail to take their chances once again, Southgate will surely give him a chance.

It was a surreal and unusual experience watching the Three Lions with atmosphere replaced by silence and the World Cup semi-final rematch suffered as a result.

"Now, I think some of those players are a bit more established".

Southgate introduced debutant Jadon Sancho for the final 15 minutes, but the Borussia Dortmund attacker - England's second-youngest debutant in a competitive game after Duncan Edwards - was unable to make a match-winning impact.

"We've had success building with the three and with Eric in that position it's flawless for him to drop in, so that at times was the idea", Southgate told Sky Sports. "And tonight we played well".

It was a more frustrating night for Chelsea's Ross Barkley, given his first England appearance since May 2016 after his recent renaissance.

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