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England exiles face battle to win spots back, says Southgate

Soccer Football - International Friendly - England v Wales - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 8, 2020 England manager Gareth Southgate Pool via REUTERS/Glyn Kirk

(Reuters) - Gareth Southgate said Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho face a battle to win their spots back after the England manager was impressed by the performance of the experimental side he fielded in Thursday’s 3-0 victory against Wales.

Abraham, Chilwell and Sancho missed the friendly at Wembley Stadium after they breached COVID-19 regulations at the weekend.

In their absence, Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Conor Coady and Southampton striker Danny Ings scored their first international goals, while Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka also impressed on their first England starts.

“That is the really big lesson for anybody in that situation, really,” Southgate said. “You want to be involved, you want to be playing.

“When you have got the shirt, or a place in the squad, you don’t want to allow other people the opportunity to take it.

“Whenever we give debuts ... there is an opportunity for them to push themselves up the pecking order a bit. Several did that. It is lovely to see young players come in and flourish.”

England face Belgium in the Nations League on Sunday followed by Denmark on Wednesday.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing