Gareth Southgate should switch England to a three-man defence

Gareth Southgate's men secured their place at Russian Federation 2018 with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday evening.

"I get absolutely indignant about the suggestion that players when they play for England don't really care", he said.

It was Kane's 14th goal in nine games for club and country, and the 24-year-old's fitness and form are crucial to any hopes England might have of success in the finals in Russian Federation next summer. When Rose gets fit he's as good as anybody in his position and Bertrand is more than capable of matching his levels when called upon. At least in the old days the players would compensate for their poor technique by running themselves into the ground, but this England team don't even do that.

"I know from when I worked in Qatar with him he was saying how good Kane was".

'Of course I want to play every game. We clawed our way back in and what we gave in the second half was fantastic.

'Going into the tournament, we want everyone to have the kind of confidence he's showing at the minute. I look at my numbers after the game and I've been out for four months and I'm not the one who hasn't run the most.

In an easy group where Slovakia provided their sternest test, England may have won through but flattered to deceive for much of the qualification campaign. We have started this season well as a team. We want to stay unbeaten, we want to go and win the game.

The likes of Portugal, Holland and Italy might cast an envious eye at the Three Lions' qualification with a trip to Lithuania still to go but Thursday's arduous Wembley win over Slovenia - a grind on the pitch and a trial in the stands - felt anything but celebratory.

Joshua Kimmich wrapped it up late, and Josh Magennis got the enthusiastic home fans singing again with the home side's consolation after a corner in injury time. But this is a young team. Robert Lewandowski had a hat trick, becoming his country's all-time leader scorer, with 50 goals in 90 appearances for the national squad. So naturally they don't expect.

MERSE SAYS: I'm going for five central defenders to provide a number of options for the back three.

"To get into the latter stages in Russian Federation would be looked on as a success".

Tickets have gone on sale for the first sales phase of the World Cup and Fifa's website is expected to be busy this weekend as England and Germany fans buy tickets.

  • Stacy Allen