England boss Gareth Southgate is not concerned over his critics following defeat

Gareth Southgate has hit back at his critics and insists they are wrong to brand him boring and negative.

England fans on social media and radio phone-ins lumped on Southgate after his side’s 1-0 defeat to Denmark.

But the Three Lions boss has defended his record and insists his over-cautious reputation is undeserved.

Southgate said: “I think we've been top scorers in the World Cup, we were top scorers in the Euro qualifiers. We’ve been to two semi-finals. We’ve blooded any number of young players.

“I suppose that I would point to that body of work but it’s for others to have that opinion. I'm not really too concerned.

“We gave another two twenty-somethings their debuts alongside Mason Mount, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips who’s had four games in the Premier League.

“So I think we've been pretty bold in many of our decisions over a long period of time really. Yes. Others might have a view.”

Southgate did give full debuts to Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reece James but he also chose two holding midfielders in Rice and Phillips, along with five defenders.

It was a line-up which struggled even before Harry Maguire’s red card forced them to play a man down for an hour, and James was then sent off for dissent at the final whistle.

England also stumbled against the Danes after riding their luck to beat Belgium, the world’s top-ranked team, with the help of a penalty and a deflected goal.

But they have still won 20 of their past 22 competitive home games, scoring 67 goals while conceding only 11.

Southgate said: “The only negatives have been the two red cards. Disciplinary-wise we have to be better than that on the field.

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"We open ourselves up for criticism otherwise and it makes the game so much harder.

“There were so many positives internally for us as a group in terms of the steps we’ve made in players understanding how we want to play, a lot of new players that we’ve found in terms of their performances.

“In the end I'm so proud of what the players have done and the way they've been across the ten days.

“They're a joy to work with. They are growing in resilience. They know how the level of training has to be every day. They know what's expected of each other.

“They fight and dig in for each other and their performance with 11 and with 10 was very mature and, in my opinion, a very high level.”

Southgate also revealed England WILL play a friendly against replacement opposition on November 12 after New Zealand pulled out, with Australia a possible stand-in.

He said: “There’s Euro qualifiers and in terms of parity for teams in the Nations League I think everybody has to have fixtures.

“We will have another game arranged and I have to say we took so much from these three games that for us it was a great period to learn about the players.”

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