England vs. Nigeria - Football Match Report

Gareth Southgate claims Raheem Sterling justified his decision to protect the troubled England star despite his booking for diving against Nigeria.

The Three Lions beat their opponents from west Africa 2-1 under the arch yesterday, as Gareth Southgate's men continued their preparations for World Cup 2018.

He dominated headlines and the build-up to the friendly after he was pictured sporting a tattoo of a gun on his leg and revelations about his late arrival for England's pre-World Cup training camp when they assembled earlier this month.

Former players Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard had admitted in a television show that one of the key reasons why England never succeeded in the World Cup in the past decade despite the presence of big names was a lack of cohesion among the team members.

But Southgate gave no clues as to who would start in goal for England with Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope the three goalkeepers in the World Cup squad.

Southgate will no doubt be pleased with the win, but concerned at a sloppy start to the second-half by his charges.

Following an inconsistent season with Tottenham and some diffident displays for England, Alli needed to cement his place in Southgate's team and, ignoring the hail of boos, he was making a convincing case.

"I've not had a chance to see that back again, it looked a very tight call from where I was sitting". I have played here many times in so many finals and have managed to have great success here and win pretty much all of the finals I have played.

"We played football like we wanted to play". You've always got to balance what the message is to the rest of the group, and what's most important at that moment in time. I completely understand where he's coming from.

The official home and away strips for Russian Federation 2018 reportedly sold out within three minutes of going on sale on Nike's online store on Friday, while people were seen queuing outside a flagship Oxford Street shop in London. "It's a distraction you don't need, but it's one of those I've learned to deal with now". Everybody has to maintain the level.

"My experience of these tournaments is these things will evolve as the matches progress".

"I wouldn't necessarily be saying the team that started today is the team that starts against Tunisia, but clearly it might not be far away".

"It could have gone against us for a brief spell, but we got through that period, got our composure and still caused problems with the ball". Dele [Alli] and Jesse [Lingard] made unselfish runs.

He also hailed the contribution of full-back Kieran Trippier, whose corner created Gary Cahill's opening goal, saying: "His quality on the ball is outstanding".

"It was a really good test for us". If we can combine those together in the flawless way then we can go far.

  • Stacy Allen