Bradley Lowery enjoys 'amazing' Wembley experience with his mate Jermain Defoe

Dele Alli has urged England's players to unite and buy into Gareth Southgate's footballing philosophy.

"We'd have liked a bit more but I think really only one team came to win the game and it's always hard to break down a packed defence as we did", Southgate told ITV.

"Yeah it's good to be back".

"It is important for the team when we come here that we all buy into the philosophy".

"It's hard to put into words how I felt, I had to keep my emotions in check at the beginning - obviously little Brad's with me".

Five year old Sunderland fan Bradley, from Blackhall, has developed a strong bond with his favourite player acting as mascot on numerous occasions and getting visits from Defoe and other players during his fight with Neuroblastoma cancer.

"We've got to look every time we get together as to who's in form", Southgate said. "But we got the goals we wanted", Hart said. "The key thing for me is recovery, giving yourself the best opportunity to perform in the next game, and I seem to have got that down to a T. There's a lot of things I do away from training and away from match-day that help me perform, so I'll just keep doing that. If he's scoring goals in the Premier League and playing as well as he has this season, there's absolutely no reason why he couldn't (go to the World Cup)".

And Southgate congratulated Defoe, who has bagged 14 Premier League goals this season, on the impact he had on his return to the fold. The group is in our hands, which is the most important thing. Only Kane is guaranteed a spot on the plane next summer, with the remaining contenders left to scrap over three (or so) spots. "I love the feeling of scoring goals", he said.

Impressed against Lithuania with the second goal and is back in form for Leicester City after an terrible start to the season.

Out of favour under Jurgen Klopp, who often prefers to field a false nine, while injuries continue to hamper his progress at Liverpool. But when's he's on-song, he's looked very good for England. Fuelled by the pain of past rejections and revitalised after turning vegan, Jermain Defoe insists he can defy father time by firing England to the World Cup.

Injuries to younger strikers seem to be the best chance of Defoe making the squad for Russian Federation, assuming unbeaten England completes the job in the second half of qualifying.

"The demands on the players are so high with the intensity of the games these days", Defoe said. "It was a painful defeat in Sofia, during which the chances of the Netherlands qualifying for the World Cup diminished".

Just before half-time Nerijus Valskis beat Hart to the ball and would have got the equaliser for Lithuania if his header had been more powerful.

  • Joanne Flowers