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Southgate: England still have a ‘step to go’ before Euros

James Walker-Roberts

Gareth Southgate acknowledged England still have another “step to go” after battling to a 2-1 win over Poland at Wembley.

Harry Kane put England ahead from the penalty spot but Poland, missing top scorer Robert Lewandowski, levelled when Jakub Moder took advantage of a poor error from John Stones.

England secured their third straight World Cup qualifying Group I win thanks to a late header from Harry Maguire, set up by Stones.

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While the result puts them in a strong position to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, Southgate also has the Euros to think about this summer, and has plenty to contemplate for his team selection.

“Everybody’s got a lot to play for, for that,” he told ITV.

“We played a very good Polish side and we’ve done a lot of good things this week but we can see there’s still a step to go. We had a lot of players missing that we could’ve refreshed the team with a bit more across the last two matches and in the end that fatigue started to showed I think but they stuck at it and deserved the win.

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“We were very good in the first half, we were in control of the game and to concede a goal like we did can hit the team. They stuck at it they recovered their composure and got an important set play winner.”

Reflecting on Stones’ performance, Southgate added: “He managed to compose himself for the rest of the game and had a part in the winning goal which was important – you can fold in those moments and he didn’t.

“He’s been having a good season and he’s made a mistake tonight, he knows that but he bounced back during the game and he’s got to keep doing that.”

Hungary are second in Group I on seven points with Poland three worse off in fourth.

“It is a big win,” said Maguire. “We are playing to play at a World Cup. We started the game well but in the second half we didn’t. They changed shape a bit and it took us some time to get used to it. But it is nice to get the three points. Three games in a short space of time and we have injuries too.

“John (Stones) has been brilliant this year. Defenders make mistakes and when we do we get scrutinised. He made up for it with a great header at the back post. I said to him to just keep going. We don’t like making mistakes but sometimes we are at fault for goals. We are not perfect. He is in great form and he will come back strong.”

England next have home friendlies with Austria and Romania in early June before getting their Euro 2020 campaign underway against Croatia on June 13.

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