England’s soft centre remains Gareth Southgate’s biggest headache

John Stones frustrated with sloppy second half against Iran but says he and Harry Maguire are comfortable in a back four or fiveThere is always room for improvement. The mood in the England camp is high after their 6-2 victory over Iran on Monday, but nobody is resting on their laurels. There is an awareness that sterner tests lie in wait, starting with Friday’s meeting with a speedy and inventive USA side, and much of the focus this week has been on correcting the defensive sloppiness that gifted Iran two second-half goals at the Khalifa International Stadium.That dip in concentration has been on Gareth Southgate’s mind. It was a reminder not to get carried away during this tournament of shocks and it gave weight to the idea that the biggest impediment to England’s chances of winning the World Cup is their defence.

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