Gareth Southgate praises Kobbie Mainoo and England debutants after Brazil loss

  • Endrick's late strike settled Saturday's international friendly between England and Brazil
  • Newcastle winger Anthony Gordon started while Kobbie Mainoo and Ezri Konsa earned first caps as subs
  • Southgate impressed by Man Utd youngster's 'composed moments' on debut
Mainoo got his first senior minutes at international level
Mainoo got his first senior minutes at international level / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Gareth Southgate praised Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo and England's other debutants after Saturday night's 1-0 defeat to Brazil at Wembley.

Without key forwards Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka, the Three Lions spluttered in attack and failed to make a breakthrough, instead seeing 17-year-old substitute Endrick win it for the Selecao when the Real Madrid star-in-waiting tapped in his first senior international goal in the 80th minute.

Newcastle's Anthony Gordon started on the left wing and showed flashes of his threat, while Aston Villa's Ezri Konsa replaced Kyle Walker after the Manchester City defender departed the pitch with a muscle complaint in the 20th minute. Mainoo then entered proceedings with 15 minutes of regular time to play, making his Three Lions debut shortly after breaking into Man Utd's regular starting XI.

Though the result went against his side, Southgate pointed to the new guns' performances as reason to be optimistic.

He said: "I thought Anthony was very good. Both sides of his game looked very accomplished. Ezri showed real composure and he should be really happy with his debut.

"Kobbie was a chance to dip his toes. To get Kobbie on the pitch was a brilliant moment for him and his family. You saw a couple of turns and composed moments. There's a bit of an indication about what he might become."

Anthony Gordon, Kobbie Mainoo
Mainoo earned his first England appearance from the bench / Vince Mignott/MB Media/GettyImages

The defeat marked England's first loss at Wembley in 21 games, last being downed at their home stadium by Denmark back in October 2020, but Southgate pointed to some encouraging showings from players at the start of their Three Lions careers.

He added: "I was pleased. I don't like losing matches. I thought there were lots of very good individual performances from players who've hardly played for England. I thought our regular players were very good. With 15 minutes to go we're thinking we've managed to see a lot of new players. We've had our share of the game. We've had as many attempts on goal as they have. The difference in the end was one moment. That is the ruthlessness at this level.

“I know when you lose there will always be a negative reaction. But, given all the changes that we’d made, I thought the crowd were with the team. They could see a lot of young players going in and doing well. I'm not down on the performance.”

England return to Wembley on Tuesday for their second friendly of the March international break against Belgium.