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We want bravery, not stupidity, in defence - Southgate

Southgate wants bravery from his defenders on the ball Photo: PA

John Stones gives Gareth Southgate the odd fright but the interim England boss will continue to encourage a defender who has the "perfect" teacher in Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

Three months ago the 22-year-old swapped Everton for the Etihad Stadium in a £47.5million deal, making him the second most expensive defender of all-time.

It was a huge outlay borne of Guardiola's belief in the talented defender, although there remains work to get the rough diamond sparkling consistently.

There were some unnerving moments from Stones as England overcame Scotland 3-0 on Friday evening, when attempts to play from the back at times got his team into trouble, but Southgate was keen to defend his centre-back and encourage technical progression.

For years we've talked about not being able to play out from the back. If we're to be different, if we're to progress, then we have to encourage players. But he also knows what I think of some of the things he did!

I believe we have the technical ability. I think it's decision-making, positioning, sometimes - recognition of the moments to really commit to it and the moments to maybe play past the first press. We want bravery, but not stupidity at times. We have to find that balance.

What we've got to remember is he's 22. In central defensive terms, it's nothing. If we want to have a (Mats) Hummels, a (Jerome) Boateng, a (Gerard) Pique...I can remember managing a team against Pique at 22 when he played for Manchester United and he wasn't the all-round real deal.

I think he's got the perfect manager to work with and to hone and for all of our defenders, that's what we want to encourage.

Anybody that's seen the under-21s play knows how we believe is the right way to go forward.

I wanted us (on Friday night) to be an England team that played with confidence and were prepared to use the ball even though it was a very intense and difficult atmosphere.

– PA
John Stones gave possession away more than once by playing from the back vs. Scotland Credit: PA

Meanwhile, Southgate has also spoken of his willingness to embrace, rather than fear, the possibility of taking on the England manager position on a full-time basis.

Reluctant to replace Roy Hodgson in the wake of the Euro 2016 embarrassment, the 46-year-old was parachuted into the hotseat as a newspaper sting brought Sam Allardyce's brief reign to an ignominious end.

Southgate was charged with steadying the ship in the final four matches of a turbulent year, which England will end top of their World Cup qualifying group after Friday's 3-0 win against oldest foes Scotland.

The Three Lions' biggest win in the fixture since May 1975 has boosted the former defender's chances of getting the job permanently, but his reluctance to speak about that possibility continued with a friendly against Spain still to go.

I've avoided answering [if I want it full-time] because I don't think it's necessary. You just have to do the job. With respect, I've seen people in this sort of position before talk about how much they want the job and it becomes an irrelevance if you don't prepare the team well.

So it's not really my decision, but I have loved doing it and I've seen some signs of progress with how we've played. From my point of view, it's been a brilliant experience.

No, is the answer [to fearing the job].

I said earlier in the week that it would be easy to look at the negatives, but to work with top players and to work in big matches is what I want to do. From that side, no.

– PA