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England Under-21s can make their mark - Boothroyd

England under-21s Callum Chambers and Jack Stephens Credit: PA

Interim England Under-21s manager Aidy Boothroyd praised his side's maturity as they continue their Euro 2017 countdown.

The Young Lions are unbeaten in their past 15 games after Thursday's last-gasp 3-2 win over Italy and face France in Paris on Monday.

The friendly is the last before December's Euro 2017 draw with England having qualified last month after Boothroyd stepped up from the Under-20s following Gareth Southgate's elevation to the senior team.

England failed to qualify from the group at Euro 2015, losing to Italy, but won the Toulon Tournament in the summer - with six of the starting line-up having suffered Euro disappointment - and Boothroyd believes they have become stronger over the past two years.

They're certainly more mature. They're better individuals for the experiences they've had, and they're a better team for the experiences they've had.

Like I said, the fact that you can recover, go again, and then win a tournament, says a lot about the group of players, and also the coach as well, Gareth and Steve (Holland).

It says an awful lot about them to pick them up and get them going again, create a team spirit, learn from adversity and go and win.

– PA

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Harry Kane released from England squad

Harry Kane will return to Tottenham instead of playing for England v Spain Credit: PA

Harry Kane will play no part in England's friendly against Spain after being released from the squad.

The Tottenham striker was an unused substitute for Friday's 3-0 defeat of Scotland, having only just returned from a seven-week lay-off with an ankle injury.

The Football Association were thankful for Spurs' co-operation over Kane, who played 73 minutes in last weekend's north London derby and headed to St George's Park less than 24 hours later.

Interim manager Gareth Southgate was prepared to use the striker if required in the World Cup qualifier but goals from Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill rendered that a moot point. He will now head back to Tottenham to continue building his match fitness.

England have not called up a replacement for Kane, with Sturridge, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott all available to fill attacking roles.

The game marks the end of Southgate's temporary stint in charge of the national side, though he remains firm favourite to win a permanent deal after taking seven points from a possible nine in Group F.

Southgate admitted there was little need for Kane to remain for the friendly, given the training schedule ahead and his recent injury.

Harry reported for us last week having not played a full game for some seven weeks but Tottenham were more than happy for him to come with us.

It was never really my intention to start him in a game and I think it's important that he gets a different training programme to what we're going to follow over the next couple of days.

I'm really grateful to Tottenham for letting us have him for the qualifier. Once we'd assessed our injury status and the fact we were fine and covered for what we'd do for this game, the sessions that we're going to do aren't what Harry needs at this time, having had such a long lay-off.

– PA

Robshaw: England win v South Africa 'a great feeling'

Chris Robshaw finally helped England beat South Africa Credit: PA

Chris Robshaw is relieved to have finally completed his collection of Rugby Championship scalps after England crushed South Africa 37-21 at Twickenham.

A decade of failure against the Springboks spanning 12 Tests, one of them ending in a draw, concluded with a four-try rout on Saturday that was settled the moment George Ford dashed over early in the second half.

Robshaw has been involved in four of those losses, all of them as captain, but was typically industrious as England extended their winning run to 11 games, with 10 of them delivered under the guidance of Eddie Jones, and Robshaw was delighted to keep the run going.

It's massive because I've played a number of times against South Africa and it's been a fixture in which you feel you're quite close, but you're not actually.

For us to get over that and get a comfortable scoreline is a great feeling. To see our hard pay off is great for the squad.

We left some points out there and we're a little bit disappointed to have conceded that last try, but as this series continues we'll get more fluid and show a bit of consistency.

We always want to improve on last season and when we first met up in the summer, we were very clear that yes it had been very good and we achieved what we wanted to, but it's been about kicking on and making sure that every time you go out there you produce as well as you can and keep things ticking over.

– PA

Eric Dier: I don't regret choosing England over Portugal

Eric Dier doesn't regret not choosing European champions Portugal Credit: PA

As Eric Dier ponders his first year as an England player he would be forgiven for wishing he had been more receptive to the overtures of Portugal, but the Tottenham man insists he has no regrets.

On November 13 last year the Tottenham midfielder made his Three Lions debut, replacing Fabian Delph in a 2-0 defeat by Spain in Alicante and England are preparing to host the same opponents in a return friendly on Tuesday.

Over the summer Dier and England tended their wounds following a Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland, while a Portugal squad laden with Dier's former team-mates and contemporaries - Rui Patricio, Cedric, Adrien Silva, William Carvalho, Joao Mario - were busy lifting the trophy in Paris.

Dier learned his trade with them at Sporting Lisbon, having left England at the age of seven, and was the subject of third-party enquiries from the Portuguese Football Federation as a teenager.

But the question of transferring his allegiance simply did not appeal and the contrasting fortunes of the two nations this summer has not changed his mind.

If England can't win anything then I want Portugal to win. I was very happy for them, but never once did I think I should be playing for Portugal. Once when I was younger they had spoken to Sporting about it, but nothing really came of it. It's a bit late to turn around now!

I'm English. I've never said the opposite. I'm 100 per cent English. In Portugal it happens that a lot of Brazilians play for Portugal and they're not Portuguese.

When I was growing up I wasn't a big fan of that. When I grew up, I always had the idea that I would play for England. I'm fully English, but Portugal is my home.

– PA

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Southgate right choice as England boss, says Butcher

Gareth Southgate oversaw England's 3-0 win against Scotland Credit: PA

Terry Butcher has added his voice to growing calls for Gareth Southgate to be handed the England job on a full-time basis in the wake of Friday's 3-0 win over Scotland at Wembley.

Butcher insists there is no need for FA chiefs to wait until after Tuesday night's friendly against Spain to appoint Southgate, who has held the job on a caretaker basis since the departure of Sam Allardyce in September.

Southgate has consistently expressed his desire to take on the role full-time and indicated he expects the process to begin after the game against Spain.

Despite obvious areas in need of improvement in the three games under his command, the former England Under-21 boss appears to have won over the players and the FA hierarchy. Butcher now believes the appointment should be made sooner rather than later to avoid the risk of missing out on Southgate.

I think he's the right man - he's a personable guy and he wants to learn and adapt. I think there's a lot of going into the classroom for Gareth with England, he'll learn in the job and I think he'll learn well - he's got the capacity and the brain power.

He'll certainly develop his own coaching prowess at international level - give him the job and give him it now.

It may be (if the FA wait for Arsene Wenger to decide his future) that Gareth walks away and says, you've had your chance, it's gone.

– Radio 5 Live

Cahill: Southgate understands pressure of England

Cahill found the net as England recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over Scotland. Credit: PA

Gary Cahill believes England's players are comfortable with Gareth Southgate's leadership because he knows what they are going through.

England claimed a 3-0 win over their oldest rivals Scotland on Friday, with headed goals from Cahill, Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana ensuring they ended a rough year by establishing a two-point lead in their World Cup qualifying group.

The positive thing I see is that he's been there, he's been an England player and been to major tournaments.

He has that experience and he knows how it is, he knows the pressure you're under when you go and play in an England shirt so he can relate very closely.

We've enjoyed this week. Last time we were thrown together in difficult circumstances but this time he's started to get his points across in training and it's important we buy in and keep going.

Gareth's come in and done what's expected of him. It's out of our control but we'll keep giving everything we can for him.

– Cahill post-match
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