Gareth Southgate sets sights on Euro 2020 clash with Scotland
England boss Gareth Southgate saw his side ease to victory over the Republic of Ireland before setting his sights on a European Championship clash against Scotland next summer.
A much-changed Three Lions team secured a comfortable 3-0 win at Wembley as Harry Maguire captained the side and opened the scoring to make amends for his red card here against Denmark 29 days ago.
Jadon Sancho doubled the lead before a Dominic Calvert-Lewin penalty wrapped up the victory on a night where relative newcomers Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka starred for the hosts.
While England were all but cruising to victory, their auld enemy were securing their place at next summer’s rescheduled Euro 2020 finals with a dramatic penalty shoot-out win in Serbia.
Steve Clarke’s side ended a 22-year wait to qualify for a major tournament and will now join England in Group D – with a Wembley clash between the pair slated for June 18.
Southgate, who played as England beat Scotland during Euro 96, is now relishing the prospect of another classic between the two Home Nations, especially if supporters will be allowed to attend.
“We all know what those sort of occasions are like,” he said.
“We just hope the fans are there to see it.
“I would like to congratulate Steve Clarke and his squad and it will be a great occasion and my hope is that we will have a full house at Wembley to see it.
“It’s been such a difficult time for everyone in the country and I just hope it will give everyone something to look forward to because these games are great occasions.”
It remains to be seen what Southgate’s starting line-up will look like come that match, but he was impressed with a number of players who came into the side against the Republic of Ireland.
“It was an important experience for several of the players,” he added.
“We knew that we had three experienced centre-backs and goalkeeper and that was important to give stability to the team.
“In front of that, we weren’t physically as strong as we sometimes are but we had good technicians.
“The two midfield players used the ball really well and their combinations with the wing-backs and the three forwards were at times really exciting.
“We got players in between the lines turning and running at their defence.
“We weren’t tested defensively as much as we might have been but we created a lot of good opportunities and used the ball really well.”
Ireland boss Stephen Kenny is still waiting for his first win in the job and felt his side left themselves with too much to do after allowing Maguire to score the opener.
“I think we were beaten 3-0, we are disappointed to lose the game but we can’t complain really about anything,” he said.
“We can’t complain about the result in any way, shape or form but we are disappointed with the goals we conceded.
“The first one hurt us because we had started reasonably OK – we started well enough.
“The fact we went two down was disappointing and we gave ourselves a lot to do once that happened. England were very good, their system is interesting and they played well.”