The Three Lions boss thought the experience at St Mary's was 'brilliant' and the access to the training ground, deemed 'absolutely top level'
England manager Gareth Southgate has paid tribute to Southampton's hospitality and facilities following the Three Lions' Euro 2020 qualifying win over Kosovo at St Mary's Stadium, as reported by the Saints official website.
The game on the south coast, which Southgate's charges won 5-3, was the first time that England have played a competitive fixture away from Wembley since 2006, and their first time back at St Mary’s since 2002, when Sven Goran Eriksson's side drew 2-2 against Macedonia (BBC Sport).
It was not quite plain sailing on the pitch for England as they found themselves a goal down early on and then, despite holding a 5-1 lead at the break, went on to concede two goals to give the visitors hope of a comeback, but the hosts did the job in the end and it was certainly not low on drama, as Southgate acknowledged.
“I thought it was brilliant – not only the experience we’ve had tonight, but also the access we’ve had to the training ground, which has been absolutely top level,” Southgate is quoted by the Southampton website as saying. “The people couldn’t have been friendlier or more helpful. We’ve had a brilliant experience and the atmosphere in the ground was absolutely top – credit to the Kosovo fans as well, who added to that.
Southampton play away this weekend as they travel to Sheffield United in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon before returning to St Mary's the following Friday as they host fellow south coast side Bournemouth.
"I hope the people have enjoyed having England nearby, and being able to walk down the road and see them has hopefully been a special experience. We certainly gave them a game to remember. Who says international football’s dull?”
After conceding through Valon Berisha's first-minute goal, the hosts surged into a healthy lead courtesy of Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and an own goal before a Jadon Sancho double, although Berisha and Vedat Muriqi scored again before Kane missed a penalty.
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