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Southgate: England must cause Spain problems on the ball

21:59 EAT 14/10/2018
Gareth Southgate
The Three Lions must try and take the game to their opponents in Nations League tie on Monday, claims their manager

England manager Gareth Southgate says he wants his side to be positive in possession against Spain on Monday and feels the Three Lions would have no chance of a result if they just defended for 90 minutes.

Spain put on a classy performance in their 2-1 win against England at Wembley last month.

Southgate’s side took the lead through Marcus Rashford but Spain controlled the game throughout and eventually eased to victory.

Friday night’s 0-0 draw against Croatia saw Southgate opt to change England’s system from a 3-5-2 to a 4-3-3 in an attempt to get his side to dominate with the ball more frequently.

Speaking to reporters ahead of England’s clash with Luis Enrique’s side, Southgate reiterated his desire to see his team cause the opposition more problems in possession.

"It's good that we've got options because different teams pose different tactical problems,” the England boss said.

“We needed to get tight to Croatia's midfield, Spain are similar in that sense. We have to cause them problems with the ball. We can't defend for 90 minutes."

Spain have looked impressive under the management of former Barcelona coach Enrique and were convincing winners in their first two Nations League matches.

Their most recent victory came in a friendly against Wales on Thursday, with a double from Borussia Dortmund’s in-form striker Paco Alcacer helping them on their way to a 4-1 victory over Ryan Giggs’ side.

Southgate spoke glowingly of Spain on Sunday and singled out Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez as a threat with his attacking runs from midfield.

"They've got a new coach, who is a top coach.

“They're a little bit more direct, more players with speed in the front three. Saul gets in the box a lot more as well.”

England’s chances of a result have been hit by suspensions to Jordan Henderson and John Stones, with both picking up bookings in Friday’s draw with Croatia.

Southgate has confirmed that Liverpool defender Joe Gomez is to replace Stones at the heart of the defence.

"Joe Gomez will be coming in for John Stones - he's in really good form for his club and he's put in polished performances for us,” Southgate added.

“I'm looking forward to seeing him. It’s an opportunity to look at some younger players.”