Win in Glasgow helped silence England critics, says Downing

Stewart Downing.
Stewart Downing.
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Stewart Downing felt England’s comfortable victory over Scotland was further evidence that they can win over their post-World Cup critics.

England made it six victories out of six since they finished bottom of Group D in Brazil by recording a well-deserved 3-1 triumph over Gordon Strachan’s improving Scotland side at Celtic Park.

Midfielder Downing sensed people were expecting them to lose in Glasgow after the Scots beat the Republic of Ireland in a European qualifier last Friday.

But England never looked back after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s headed goal in the 32nd minute and Wayne Rooney netted his second goal after Andrew Robertson had given the hosts brief yet unlikely hope.

Downing said: “That’s the way to respond to the disappointment of the World Cup – to win and play well along the way. I think we have done that.

“Roy has put together a good squad with a mixture of youth and experience.

“I think a lot of people had us down to lose the game after the win Scotland had the other night.

“But I thought we dealt with it really well and I thought the quality came through with the goals.”

Manager Roy Hodgson thinks there is even more to come from his young squad over the next 18 months in the build-up to Euro 2016.

“We know that in France we’ll have to be every bit as good as this, if not better,” said Hodgson.

“We can get better, not least because so many players are so young.

“By France 2016 they will have so many more football matches under their belts.”

The FA have conformed England will play glamour friendlies in Germany in March 2016 and at home against France on November 17, next year.