Blooding youngsters is path forward for England, says Gareth Southgate


World Cup preparations kicked off with a promising goalless draw against holders Germany at Wembley on Friday, with five-time champions Brazil providing the opposition on Tuesday.

On the on-loan Crystal Palace midfielder, Southgate told his post-match press conference: "He's a player I've watched do that from under-16 level and despite his size and his appearance and the way he plays, he's not hugely confident at times". Now I have the opportunity to play in the Premier League every week. I don't think the wider public will be as aware of him, you would have to have followed him very closely, but we believe in him and the others we played.

The stand-out performer was Ruben Loftus-Cheek who despite failing to break into the Chelsea first-team, showed he has the quality to compete on the global stage.

"It seems like if these guys keep progressing and playing as well as they are, then it seems to me they're going to have to leave those clubs".

"He's quite a quiet lad, so I'm hoping he gets a lift in confidence from how we see him, the level we think he's capable of".

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There will be able a temptation to play Loftus-Cheek again after a man-of-the-match debut that followed Harry Winks' impressive bow in Lithuania last month.

If we won it would have been better but I'm really happy. Gareth said to do my best like I normally do. There are still loads of things we can get better at the more we play that system.

You sense, talking to Loftus-Cheek, that he has a sensible head on his shoulders.

The England goalkeeping position has been long-debated and Southgate clearly has a big call to make after he handed a debut to Jordan Pickford and the Everton keeper showed why he is rated so highly.

"He's certainly made really important saves tonight and of course with his feet, he gives the team a different dimension as well". So we came to an agreement. If we do that, the technical type of player that is coming through our system now and the athletic profile we have got could be really exciting.