England’s Southgate says he will not be swayed by criticism

England manager Gareth Southgate shrugged off criticism of his side’s winless start to their Nations League campaign and said he will not let his decision-making be influenced by reaction to their recent performances.

England were beaten 1-0 by Hungary in their opener last week before drawing 1-1 with Germany in Munich on Tuesday.

“I know what I wanted from these games,” Southgate told reporters. “I also accept that with England you’re going to be judged and you have got to win every match. “But I’ve got to think a little bit differently to that and accept that if there is criticism, fine. I have got to make the right decisions for the players, for the team.”

With England hosting Italy on Saturday and Hungary three days later as part of their intense schedule, Southgate is set to rotate the squad, just as other European sides have done.

“You have seen right across Europe – France changed 10, Spain changed eight, Portugal changed seven,” he said.

“This is quite a unique set of games where teams are thinking about player welfare to a degree, freshness, but also they are preparing for a World Cup.”

Full back Trent Alexander-Arnold has been released from the squad after his long season with Liverpool but Southgate said he was hopeful Phil Foden could recover from COVID-19 in time to face Italy.