Finish with a flourish

Gareth Southgate wants his England Under-21s side to finish their Euro group with a flourish on Tuesday.

The Three Lions are in Moldova to bring their Group One fixtures to a close and are aiming to end with what could be an impressive record of nine wins from their ten games.

Southgate’s side have only dropped points in one match so far, away to Finland a year ago, but now know they will face a Moldovian side desperate to end their own campaign with a win.

Moldova U21s v England U21s

UEFA European U21 Championship
Group One Qualifier

5pm (BST), Tuesday 9 September 2014
Sheriff Sports Complex, Tiraspol

They currently sit in second spot behind confirmed group winners England in the table and know that a victory will give them a slim chance of reaching the play-offs as one of the four best second-placed nations.

And the England head coach knows that it won’t be easy for his side in Tiraspol, where Moldova have remained unbeaten during this campaign so far.

“They haven’t conceded a goal at home and they play with three at the back, which is something different for us to face,” said Southgate.

“But we don’t think they can go through, because of the way the other groups are going.

“We’re following through most of the groups so we have an idea.”

The Three Lions squad arrived in the Moldovian capital Chisinau on Monday afternoon, after travelling from Kaunas in Lithuania, where they picked up their latest win last Friday.

It took a late Harry Kane goal for England to secure the victory, but despite the narrow scoreline, Southgate is positive about the performance on overall reflection of the game.

“Although we didn’t get a hatful of goals, we made over 700 passes and as the game went on, we spoke about keeping good habits and doing the right thing and not just throwing it in the box aimlessly,” he explained.

England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate during his side

Southgate was pleased with his side’s team performance in Kaunas last Friday

“We slowly created more and more chances, hit the bar and the post and had one cleared off the line so there was that belief in the way that they were playing.

“And they know that if they keep doing that – teams will tire when you’re doing a lot of passing – the other team are doing a lot of running.

“I think if we score after 20 minutes of a game, it changes completely but I thought it was good for them that they had to wait for 80 minutes, and then have to defend with the Lithuanian goalie coming up and putting the pressure on.

“They’re all good scenarios to go through for the players.”

With midfield pair James Ward-Prowse and Nat Chalobah both suspended for the Moldova game, Southgate will be forced into at least two changes on Tuesday.

But with a squad of 21 players to select from, he has a number of options to experiment with as focus begins to turn towards next month’s play-offs.

“We’ll make about four or five changes,” said the former Crystal Palace and Aston Villa defender.

“We think that the formation still suits the players that we’ve got and the way the opposition play really.

“So you want the players going in to have a chance to play with the core of the team and keep it stable and that’s what we’ll do.”