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Mikel talks England friendly: Why we didn’t play well in first half

05 June 2018
Mikel talks England friendly: Why we didn’t play well in first half

More than 70,000 fans saw the prestige encounter, in which first-half goals by Gary Cahill and Harry Kane rendered Alex Iwobi's effort two minutes into the second half little more than a consolation.

On Sterling's booking for simulation, which came after he took a tumble in the box under apparently minimal contact, Southgate added: "It looked a very tight call from where I was sitting because he was travelling at such speed".

The west Africans face Czech Republic on June 6 before gearing up for their opening World Cup encounter against Croatia on June 16.

But the England manager will also have to consider having another talk with Sterling after the City winger's latest controversy.

"We ran around the pitch and two days before we arrived at 3 in the morning after ten hours flight". The 23-year-old has had a tumultuous week, but didn't help himself as he threw his body to the floor in an attempt to win a penalty while the score was 2-1.

"The first lesson is we are not ready yet".

Despite the numerous changes off the bench on either side, the tempo of the game never slowed down instead it went up a notch.

It was that kind of evening for Southgate, with pluses and negatives in equal measure.

Nigeria's hurt may be enhanced given Alli's success as a growing footballer, signing for Spurs in 2015, and eventually earning his first England senior cap against Estonia in October 2016. They stretched a sloppy Nigeria for much of the first half which ended with England 2-0 ahead.

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, making only his third global appearance, hardly had a save to make in the first half.

Nigeria scored early in the second half in part thanks to England dropping back, and Wright said that was a "worrying" sign heading into the finals in Russian Federation.

Odion Ighalo had the first shot in anger for Nigeria in the 35th minute with a strike at the near post but goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was well positioned to make the save.