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practice makes perfect

England consider staging penalty shootout at Wembley in March

Boss Gareth Southgate is keen to tackle any psychological problems the squad may have around spot-kicks

Practice makes perfect… that’s the theory anyway.

England will consider staging a penalty shootout at Wembley in March to prepare their players for a similar situation at next summer’s World Cup.

Harry Kane is the main man for England from the penalty spot

Getty Images - Getty
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Spurs striker Harry Kane is the main man for England from the penalty spot

Gareth Southgate is giving the idea some thought in an attempt to overcome the psychological hurdle of a knockout game ending in a shootout.

The thinking that a shootout in a stadium will somewhat replicate a tournament situation.

England have an awful record in tournament football — the Three Lions lost on pens at the World Cup in 1990, 1998 and 2006.

They were dumped out of the Euros in similar fashion in 1996, 2004 and 2012.

Southgate admitted: “It’s something that we are considering and how we prepare best for penalty shoot-outs.

‘Whether that’s something on the training ground, whether that’s in sessions we do away from the training ground or something we do in some sort of match scenario, we’ve not finalised things like that yet. But clearly that is an option.”

Gareth Southgate is pondering different options for tackling the penalty problem

Arfa Griffiths - The Sun
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Gareth Southgate is pondering ways of tackling England’s shootout woes

Only last month Southgate confessed he feared England fans might not warm to him because it was his miss that handed Germany their semi-final shootout victory at Euro 96.

And when it comes to facing rather than taking spot-kicks, Southgate has also warned Joe Hart his long-held status as first-choice keeper is under threat.

Hart will start against Brazil in Tuesday night’s Wembley friendly.

But Everton’s £30million summer buy Jordan Pickford shone on his debut against Germany on Friday, while Stoke’s Jack Butland is battling back to fitness after a broken finger.

Ashley Cole and John Terry reflect on another shootout exit for England - against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup finals

PA:Empics Sport
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This a scene Southgate is hoping to avoid

Given how the last World Cup went for England can we suggest we focus on getting out of the group stages before worrying about penalties?


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