Jordan Henderson has revealed England will take an in-depth look at the sloppy goals they conceded as they beat Kosovo in a Euro 2020 qualifying thriller at St Mary’s on Tuesday.
The Three Lions recovered from falling behind after just 34 seconds to hit five first-half goals, only for mistakes to cost them in the second half as the visitors pegged Gareth Southgate’s side back as the game finished 5-3.
Raheem Sterling provided a goal and three assists, while Jadon Sancho scored his first international goals and Harry Kane also found the net in an impressive England attacking display.
But it was at the back where former defender Southgate will have pressing concerns.
Michael Keane gave the ball away for Valon Berisha’s first-minute strike, Declan Rice was culpable for Berisha’s second effort and Harry Maguire tripped Vedat Muriqi, who then tucked away the resulting penalty.
With players now heading back to their club sides, Liverpool skipper Henderson admits there is a debrief required when the squad reassemble for next month’s qualifying double-header away to the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
“We’ve got a period when we go back to our clubs and then when we come back we can look at the games in more depth,” he said
“We’ll be disappointed with the goals we’ve conceded. It’s a very sloppy second half. We should control the game a lot more and probably score a couple more goals.
“We’ll be disappointed with that side but first half was a really good performance. We looked so dangerous on the break and were ruthless in front of goal. There are positives to take but a lot to improve on.
“We’ll wait until the next meeting to analyse it properly. There’s a lot of emotion involved when you come straight in from a game, so I think it’s better to analyse the game and look back and that will have to come at the next camp. That will be important because we need to learn from it.”
Southgate named the youngest starting line-up of his England tenure as he continues to put faith in rising talent – something Henderson is well behind.
“If you look at the young players coming through, I thought Sancho was brilliant at times,” he said.
“He was so good with the ball, his runs and his final product. There’s still a lot of positives.
“We’re still confident and feel we’re going in the right direction, but we’re far from being the perfect team. We want to improve. We want to be even better.
“I’m feeling older with all these youngsters around. I certainly feel a responsibility. But I always have. I feel a responsibility to the team to make sure I’m helping them any way I can, whether that’s on or off the pitch.”
Another relative elder statesman of the current group is Sterling – the 24-year-old hitting his eighth goal in as many international games at Southampton.
The Manchester City forward is enjoying a purple patch of form and Henderson believes it is a case of hard work paying off.
“Raheem’s a fantastic player,” he said.
“He’s been playing like this for many years, he’s always been so good to play with.
“Now he’s getting his rewards, he’s getting goals and assists and you can see his confidence growing.
“He’s performing at the highest level and hopefully he can continue to do that.
“He’s getting in the right areas, he’s scoring goals and assisting goals. Of course he’s going to be confident, he’s doing really well and he’s still looking to improve all the time.
“We just need him to keep doing it – more for England than City! He’s a great lad and a fantastic player.”