Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate refuses to sell England duty to anyone


Veteran striker Jermain Defoe turned back the clock to help keep England unbeaten in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russian Federation.

Aside from Defoe notching a first global goal for four years, the Wembley crowd witnessed some forgettable fayre, with Lithuania's lack of ambition and England's sluggish early tempo contributing to a paucity of goalmouth action.

Defoe, 34, marked his first global appearance since November 2013 with the opening goal as the Three Lions defeated Lithuania 2-0 at Wembley and his positive impression was certainly left on Southgate and the squad.

England keeper Joe Hart, captain for the day, had one scary moment just before halftime when a high ball pumped into the area left him in two minds and Nerijus Valskis had the chance to level but saw his weak header cleared by John Stones. "Because in my heart I felt like I'd done enough to be involved".

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"I think they are a better team than maybe they gave themselves credit for". "I don't know if we can have a distinct pecking order because players who are playing well deserve the opportunity".

Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney will be hoping to return after missing the friendly in Germany and the qualifier against Lithuania - absences that enabled Defoe to complete an unlikely global renaissance.

"It's nice to score but just to win the game was important and we did that", Defoe told ITV. It is important for the team when we come here that we all buy into the philosophy.

"It's my girlfriend's idea, she said I have to do it and she puts on these documentaries about it. Bradley has touched so many hearts, we are so proud of our little boy". We don't have a lot of players in the country who can beat people in one versus one situations, and he's explosive in those types of areas.

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Southgate has talked up the prospects of the 34-year-old making the cut and being named in his tournament squad and Lallana concurs that Defoe's maturity could prove beneficial to the wider squad. Slovakia was also playing Malta in a later game.

"With creative players, they're going to try things".

"The good thing now is every coach who plays against us has got to prepare for two systems", he said.

Having tested out a 3-4-2-1 system in the mid-week 1-0 friendly defeat in Germany, Southgate reverted to a back four and his side were quickly on the front foot, with Adam Lallana prominent.

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"But we know what Scotland will be like and we have to play on a plastic pitch in Lithuania". The performance today was not as good but we got the points and it's job done. It's always helpful when you have got someone around you to help you and drive you on.