Interim England U21 manager, Aidy Boothroyd says his side have learnt lessons about themselves after their hard fought 3-2 victory over Italy at St Mary’s stadium.
The match looked to be heading for a 2-2 draw until Southampton’s Jack Stephens popped up in the dying seconds to knock in a James Ward-Prowse corner to give England the victory.
Demarai Gray and Lewis Baker notched the other goals for England to help them achieve their 15th straight victory.
In his post-match press conference, Boothroyd said: “We certainly learnt a lot of things about ourselves tonight.
“We learnt that we’ve got plenty of character. We learnt that we can score goals from all over the pitch, we hit the crossbar and the post and a penalty that we think we should have been awarded.”
His side certainly showed plenty of fight after going ahead early on they found themselves 2-1 down at half time, and Boothroyd admits he was delighted with his side.
He continued: “Overall we are delighted to play such a major nation, and get a result and in the last minute is brilliant.”
Boothroyd staying level headed
But despite drawing a lot of positives from the match, Boothroyd admits that he and his side are not getting carried away and have defensive issues to solve after conceding twice in the match.
“It’s a hell of a deflection for the first goal, it’s come flying off Brendan Galloway’s back into the top corner which is difficult for a goalkeeper to save.
“I think we should have had a little bit more control of the game and we could have made it a little bit easier for ourselves. But that’s another lesson we learn after scoring so early, we’ve got to make sure we control the game.”
The boss was also full of praise for match winner Stephens, who impressed on the night, and not just with his goal.
“He’s a very good player. A player that I’ve known from the U20’s, I’ve worked with him before. He’s got terrific character and he’s a good personality to have around the squad.
“I’m really pleased he’s scored in front of his home fans.”
England will now prepare for their second friendly away to France next week as Boothroyd looks to seal the role on a permanent basis.