England 7-0 Montenegro reaction: Gareth Southgate praises cutting edge & Harry Kane reveals details of Raheem Sterling decision

Harry Kane with the match ball after scoring a hat-trick for England
Harry Kane with the match ball after scoring a hat-trick for England

Harry Kane said it was a group decision to leave Raheem Sterling out of England's 7-0 win over Montenegro - where Gareth Southgate praised the clinical nature of his side's Euro 2020 qualification.

Kane bagged a hat-trick to go along with an own goal and strikes from Marcus Rashford, Tammy Abraham and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as England celebrated their 1,000th game in style.

Spurs man Kane was delighted with another hat-trick, as he maintained his record of scoring in every game in the current qualification campaign.

"A few of the boys have asked me, it's 30 (goals) or 31 I think," Kane told ITV after the match. "Hopefully there are a few more to come.

"But the important thing is we have qualified. We've had one slip-up in the whole group and responded really well to the defeat and got the job done.

"We wanted to put on a show in the 1,000th game and the score at half-time really showed that.

"I think we were expected to win the group, as we have done, but football is never easy and there are a lot of upsets. We've qualified and we are proud of that but we have got a lot of work to do before the summer."

Sterling omission a group decision

The one notable down side was the presence of Sterling in the stands instead of on the pitch as he sat out the game following his altercation with Joe Gomez.

Asked about the omission of Sterling, Kane told ITV: "We made a decision as a group. The gaffer spoke to me and a few of the other senior players in the team and that's the decision we have come to.

"Raz (Raheem) has apologised, as we know, and for us we are a group, things happen and we move on and this is a great way to show it."

Asked if he thought Sterling might feel marginalised by what has happened this week, Kane replied: "Not that I know of.

"He's been good around camp and been training really well and, of course, he will have been disappointed not to play tonight but I'm sure he will be ready to go and try to get on the pitch on Sunday."

A section of the Wembley crowd appeared to boo Gomez when he came off the bench late on, leading Sterling to take to social media after the match.

Sterling tweeted: "To all the England fans, I wanted to leave things at it was but tonight I have to speak again : it was hard for me to see my team mate get booed for something that was my fault. Joe hasn't done anything wrong & for me to see someone who keeps his head down and work hard.. especially after a difficult week for him to be booed when he came on tonight was wrong. I've taken full responsibility and accepted the consequence. I felt as though I had to say this get home safe every one."

Southgate praises clinical England

The emphatic victory again showed England's attacking options, even if they offered up a few too many chance to Montenegro than Southgate would have liked.

"The attacking play, in the first half in particular, had some really good movement and super quality of passing and crossing and clinical finishing," said Southgate.

"We know it's a group we should win comfortably but you can see across Europe there are other countries who have struggled to score goals like we have.

"We have struggled in the past against lower ranked teams who defend in numbers but we've got players who can open those teams up and a type of play that can do that.

"But we have to get both ends of the pitch right. We conceded a couple of chances tonight that we shouldn't and they are the sort of things we will need to be better at. There is still work to do without the ball but we are improving."

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