Gareth Southgate praised England’s hunger and mentality after they qualified for the 2022 World Cup by thrashing San Marino 10-0 on Monday night.
England were relentless as they sealed top spot in Group I, hitting double figures for the first time since 1964, and they will head to Qatar as one of the favourites after rounding off their qualification campaign in style.
Harry Kane joined Gary Lineker on 48 international goals after becoming the first England player to score four in one game since Ian Wright in 1993.
Emile Smith Rowe also marked his full debut with a goal and Southgate was delighted with his team’s refusal to slow down against limited opposition at Stadio Olimpico di Serravalle.
“I like the fact we have a mentality where we don’t take our foot off the gas, and whatever the challenge the players respond to it,” the England manager said. “We have broken a few records over the last few years. It breeds hunger and desire. They were all queuing up to score towards the end. It was probably good to have younger players on tonight.”
Kane, who is joint third with Lineker on the goalscoring list, was ruthless after Southgate decided to start him. The captain, who became only the fourth player to score a hat‑trick in consecutive England games after Vivian Woodward, Dixie Dean and Tommy Taylor, is five goals behind Wayne Rooney’s record of 53.
“If we left him another half an hour he might have got it,” Southgate said. “I said to him we would have had Wayne Rooney’s family on the phone telling us to get him off.”
Southgate, who gave Conor Gallagher his debut, was asked about Qatar’s human rights record. “I’ve been in some conversations as part of an FA delegation with people from Qatar, trying to get a better understanding of the situation,” he said.
“We have to be certain on who we should be speaking to and exactly what issues are important.
“We have to represent the country in a foreign land so we have to be 100% sure of our facts. There are clear cultural differences between the nations and we as a nation do a lot of business with Qatar. We have to take the time to educate ourselves and if there are areas we can highlight and help, clearly we will do that.”