Jack Butland to start for England against Lithuania


England manager Gareth Southgate has urged the team's supporters to allow the players to enter the 2018 World Cup without the pressure of a nation on their shoulders.

All eyes are set on Gareth Southgate's England side this fortnight as the Three Lions only need to accumulate one victory from two outings to concrete a place in Russian Federation for the World Cup.

Jack Wilshere was on the verge of an England call up for the current worldwide break, despite having not played a minute of Premier League football this season.

Yet a year into the senior job - and having spent a long time working in youth development -there is hope. We haven't got players who have proven themselves on that stage.

"It was imperative: they have to go to a World Cup". That in itself is an achievement, even if in finishing top of possibly the most unimaginably easy group in the history of European qualification they rarely dazzled. We clawed our way back in and what we gave in the second half was fantastic.

Scotland's slim chances of making it to Russian Federation improved with a very late winning goal against Slovakia, who had a man sent off.

Former England global Chris Waddle, commentating on the Slovenia match for BBC 5 Live, said: "I can't think of anything to say, it's that bad". City's bold approach to the match paid off, with them dominating proceedings as they underlined their Premier League title credentials with a 1-0 win over the champions.

"But what would be my desire and ideal way of playing and what we have to do over the next year are maybe two different things".

And Syria still stand a chance of making it to the World Cup.

Gareth Southgate's men laboured to a late 1-0 win over Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday night. "It really is tough".

Mikuckis needs to be careful not to get drawn too far out of his position but also needs to get out quickly enough to stop Dele linking up with the other forwards. "They're giving everything they've got". Made intelligent runs and was the only Three Lions' player to even remotely stretch the otherwise comfortable visitors.

"For sure we'll make changes but want to get the balance right", Southgate said.

"It is an fantastic feeling to score, no matter what the time, and it's great to go through to the World Cup".

"I am able to rationalise it all, I understand it completely". We want to stay unbeaten, we want to go and win the game. Sometimes as players we come off the back of games which are not always great but it's nearly like everyone is waiting with the negativity.

England have comfortably coasted through qualifying winning seven of nine.

Harry Kane's 94th-minute victor did little to mask what had been a drab tie and Southgate admits that while he is keen to rotate his team, he is also thinking about coming home with three points.

"It isn't down to just me, it's down to the whole team", Kane said.

"We should enjoy this". The Three Lions are now top of their qualifying group with five points over second-placed Slovakia. I'm delighted, the team are delighted. You want the whole country to be behind the team.



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