Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Southgate wants his players to show their leadership credentials

By Simon Peach

England manager Gareth Southgate is attempting to build a squad of leaders ahead of the World Cup and is set to name a new captain for Tuesday's friendly against Brazil.

Southgate initially kept faith with Wayne Rooney following the sudden departure of Sam Allardyce. However, Rooney quickly became a peripheral figure and Southgate opted to share the armband among his squad to cultivate leadership qualities.

Jordan Henderson, Joe Hart, Gary Cahill and Harry Kane have all skippered their country in that period.

Eric Dier became the sixth different player to lead the team out under Southgate in Friday's encouraging 0-0 draw with Germany.

Dier, at 23, became the fifth-youngest post-war England captain and Southgate could change skipper again in the team's final match of 2017.

"I will have a think about Tuesday," the England manager said.

"Eric is another one who has great maturity and tactical understanding of the game and can show a bit more authority at times and have a bigger impact on others.

"Part of the reason was to say 'come on, you can be a leader within this group' and hopefully he will grow from the experience."

Southgate has kept faith with the same captain for both fixtures in the past three international meet-ups, but these friendlies offer the chance to experiment - something Southgate did when handing five players their senior debuts on Friday.

There are now three even newer kids on the block after Dominic Solanke, Lewis Cook and Angus Gunn were brought up from the under-21 squad.

Manchester United's Phil Jones became England's eighth withdrawal on Saturday evening after limping off midway through the first half.

His replacement spoke volumes about Southgate's thinking, with Cahill and Michael Keane overlooked in favour of uncapped Liverpool defender Joe Gomez.

"We felt athleticism at that stage of the game in the position he was in (was important) and also Michael has had missed a few games with Everton recently," the England boss said.

"We brought Joe into the squad so we said 'let's have a look at him'."

England vs Brazil

International friendly:

Wembley Stadium, Tomorrow, 8pm

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph