South­gate steels Eng­land for ‘world’s best’ Brazil

Manila Times - - FOOTBALL - AFP

EN­FIELD, United Kingdom: Eng­land will be fac­ing “the best team in the world” in Tues­day’s ( Wed­nes­day in Manila) friendly against Brazil at Wem­b­ley, man­ager Gareth South­gate has told his play­ers.

Be­ly­ing a spate of in­jury- en­forced with­drawals, an in­ex­pe­ri­enced Eng­land side pro­duced an en­cour­ag­ing dis­play in Fri­day’s 0-0 draw against Ger­many, with debu­tants Jor­dan Pick­ford and Ruben Lof­tus- Cheek im­press­ing.

But Brazil have won 13 of their 16 games since Tite was ap­pointed coach in June last year and with play­ers like Ney­mar and Gabriel Je­sus in their ranks, South­gate says they will be much more un­pre­dictable.

“There’s been a good re­sponse to the per­for­mance the other night, but we’ll be judged again on what hap­pens to­mor­row,” South­gate told a press con­fer­ence at the Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur train­ing base in En­field, north London on Mon­day.

“We’re in for a much sterner test. Brazil are well down the road in terms of know­ing what their best team is.

“We’re play­ing the best team in the world, who’ve an­ni­hi­lated everybody in South Amer­i­can qual­i­fy­ing, which is the hard­est way to get to the fi­nals. We have to be spot on to have a chance of win­ning the game.”

Com­par­ing Brazil with Ger­many, South­gate added: “I think Ger­many are a well- oiled ma­chine in the way they work— very slick in­ter- pass­ing, but you know where on the field they are go­ing to be.

“With Brazil a lot of the prob­lems you face are be­cause of the abil­ity of in­di­vid­u­als, which is less pre­dictable. You can’t pre­pare for that in quite the same way as some of the teams we face.

“They have good or­gan­i­sa­tion since the new coach came in. They don’t com­mit as many men for­ward per­haps; they don’t need to be­cause of the qual­ity of their at­tack­ing play­ers. We’ll have to work re­ally hard to make chances.”

‘Get the bal­ance right’

Brazil tal­is­man Ney­mar is go­ing through a del­i­cate pe­riod, amid re­ports of dis­con­tent be­hind the

Eng­land’s man­ager Gareth South­gate an­swers ques­tions from mem­bers of the me­dia at a press con­fer­ence at Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur’s En­field Train­ing Cen­ter, north-east of London, on Tues­day on the eve of their In­ter­na­tional friendly foot­ball match against Brazil. scenes at Paris Saint- Ger­main, but South­gate said his team will still have to watch him closely.

Asked if Ney­mar was worth the 222 mil­lion eu­ros ($ 259 mil­lion) PSG paid Barcelona to sign him, South­gate replied: “If there was to be one ( who would be worth that much), it would be him.”

South­gate con­firmed Tot­ten­ham’s Eric Dier would re­tain the cap­tain’s arm­band, af­ter skip­per­ing his coun­try for the first time against Ger­many, while Joe Hart will re­place Pick­ford in goal.

Hav­ing been sat­is­fied by his team’s dis­play against the Ger­mans, South­gate ad­mit­ted he faced a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion over how many changes to make to his start­ing XI.

“I’ve got to get the bal­ance right,” he said.

“The struc­ture of the team was good, so I don’t want to make too many changes. But also this is an op­por­tu­nity to give other play­ers op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“We should ex­per­i­ment a bit. We’re play­ing a top, top team, but we don’t have many op­por­tu­ni­ties to test in­di­vid­ual play­ers.”

Eng­land re­mains with­out Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Ra­heem Ster­ling and Jor­dan Hen­der­son, to name but four of their ab­sen­tees.

South­gate awarded five play­ers their de­buts against Ger­many and said he “will not hes­i­tate” to test Do­minic Solanke, Lewis Cook and An­gus Gunn against Brazil af­ter draft­ing the un­capped trio into his squad.

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