Gareth Southgate encouraged by England debutants Loftus-Cheek and Pickford after Germany draw

England manager Gareth Southgate enthused about Three Lions debutants Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Jordan Pickford for their performances in a goalless Wembley draw with Germany on Friday.

Gareth Southgate encouraged by England debutants Loftus-Cheek and Pickford after Germany draw
(Picture: Getty Images - Laurence Griffiths)

Gareth Southgate hailed the "really encouraging" performance of his England team after their 0-0 draw with Germany and praised debutants Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Jordan Pickford.

The Three Lions fielded an inexperienced eleven with three players making their maiden international appearances, Tammy Abraham joining Loftus-Cheek and Pickford, and totalling just 101 caps with only five players on 10 or more.

But despite the exuberance of a youthful side saw them match reigning World Cup champions Germany punch-for-punch, though Pickford was required to make a few outstanding saves in the first half.

Loftus-Cheek was named Man of the Match for his performance from an attacking midfield position, growing into the role to produce an accomplished creative display.

Southgate delighted by displays of young duo

On the on-loan Crystal Palace midfielder, Southgate told his post-match press conference: "He's a player I've watched do that from under-16 level and despite his size and his appearance and the way he plays, he's not hugely confident at times.

"Tonight it took him 10 minutes to have a look around and think 'Alright okay, I can do this'. He's got so many good attributes, top attributes, and that's why we put him into the team.

"I don't think the wider public maybe would be as aware of him, you'd have to follow him very closely, but we believe in him and we believe in the others that we played.

"I'm really not surprised with what they've done because they've shown that previously in younger ages and in the week in training, there's been an energy about the group.

"It seemed as if okay, there's loads of pull outs and it's a bit messy, but actually it was really tight and I think the performance without getting too carried away was a really encouraging one."

Pickford - who only started because Jack Butland broke his finger the day before the game and had to be withdrawn from the squad - likewise produced a stellar performance.

The 23-year-old Everton 'keeper's highlights saw him twice deny Timo Werner with sublime low saves in the first half, though his display did not come as a surprise to Southgate.

"Again, I remember his first couple of under-21 games with us and you're thinking that he's quick around the goal, he makes saves," the England boss continued.

"There's various levels - they either save what they should save and not much else or they go to the next level and make match-winning saves.

"He's certainly made really important saves tonight and of course with his feet, he gives the team a different dimension as well. He can be really pleased with his performance."

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Several U21s will be called up for Brazil clash, confirms Southgate

Stoke City's Butland was one of seven players to pull out of Southgate's initial 25-man selection ahead of the clash with Die Mannschaft, and the ex-Middlesbrough boss has confirmed he will call in replacement from the under-21s.

Aidy Boothroyd's side continued their excellent unbeaten start to their European Championship qualifying with a 2-0 win in Ukraine earlier on Friday.

Dominic Calvert-LewinDominic Solanke and Demarai Gray are three attackers reportedly being considered for call-ups to add to the England senior team's options in the final third.

"We'll see whether Phil [Jones] stays with us, definitely Angus [Gunn] following the injury to Jack [Butland]," Southgate confirmed when asked which players could be promoted for Tuesday's clash with Brazil.

"Then we'll have a look and we'll just assess what's required. It would be a good experience for a couple of the under-21s to come with us anyway and have a couple of days with the senior team.

"They [the u21s] don't have a game and for them to be involved against Brazil would be a brilliant experience for them. 

"It's a bit of a no brainer, I've just got to decide who. I'll find out whose played well tonight, who warrants the decision. We'll liaise with Aidy on that and go from there."