Jack Grealish made his 16th appearance on the senior team for England
Jack Grealish took an important “psychological” step with his first goal for England, says boss Gareth Southgate.
Grealish came off the bench to score the fifth goal in a 5-0 World Cup qualifier win against Andorra through the assist of goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
The Manchester City midfielder made his 16th game for England.
“The longer the number of caps stacks and the gates column stays empty can become one thing,” Southgate said.
England were already leading 4-0 with goals from Ben Chilwell, Bukayo Saka, Tammy Abraham and James Ward-Prowse when Grealish scored on 86 minutes.
He grabbed a long throw from Johnstone before making room for himself and scoring a goal to end a positive night for Southgate’s side.
Chilwell also scored his first Three Lions goal, while Jadon Sancho provided two assists and Phil Foden impressed in midfield.
This means that England is four points ahead of Group I with three game days to go in World Cup qualification.
Regarding Grealish, Southgate added, “Sometimes he can be in the right areas a little more often, making sure he isn’t out of the box when balls flash over his face.
“It was a marvelous bit of quick thinking from Sam Johnstone and when Jack is in these one-on-one situations he’ll always be a threat.”
Southgate said it was “important” that Sancho made an impression after an indifferent start to his career at Manchester United following his move from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
“Tonight we managed to get him on the ball in these wide areas and he showed fabulous skills at times,” added the England coach.
“It was important that he got the assists.”
Southgate said he needed to speak to his team at halftime to make sure they stay cool against a physical Andorra side.
At the end of the first half there was a confrontation between several players in which both teams received two yellow cards.
The game was overseen by Ukrainian referee Kateryna Mozul, who was the first woman to lead an English men’s game and who was in control in an occasional sharp encounter.
“They are a very difficult team because they waste time from the start and are sometimes aggressive in their challenges,” said Southgate.
“I asked the players at halftime, ‘What’s the only way we can get out of hand here?’ and the players knew it.
“It is sometimes good practice to play yellow for a while. But it was one of those nights when we didn’t want to risk more yellow.”