England boss says had no issues with being substituted just 11 minutes after coming on against Italy on Thursday night.
The Three Lions gave an excellent first-half display in Naples and took a deserved two-goal lead after goals from and , with the skipper in the process.
But they had to dig in during a much more difficult second half, with debutante Mateo Retegui pulling a goal back shortly after the restart.
Foden was introduced in the 69th minute as England looked to reclaim some control in the match, but barely 10 minutes later Southgate was forced into another reshuffle when Luke Shaw was shown two yellow cards in the space of 54 seconds.
The England boss opted to sacrifice Foden, replacing him with Kieran Trippier, but Southgate says the Manchester City playmaker totally understood the decision and told him as much afterwards.
Asked if he had spoken to Foden to explain the substitution, Southgate said: ‘No, he came up to me and said “I know, I get it” – he knew exactly what we needed to do.
‘You obviously don’t want to do that but we needed to get the full-back on.
‘And we felt the change of the shape with them having to play around us but with enough bodies to deal with crosses but with wing-backs to stop those crosses was the right way to get around that.’
Declan Rice also received praise from his manager, with the West Ham skipper giving an excellent display particularly in the second half when England had to absorb a lot of pressure.
Southgate continued: ‘Yeah, Declan had a top performance level in midfield. I thought he, Kalvin [Phillips] and Jude [Bellingham], and given the experience level of the other team, were excellent.
‘We managed to put good pressure onto them. There were a lot of periods where that was a very good team performance and a lot of moments when the midfield had to do the basics of winning second balls and then you’re on the attack and it’s an ugly phase. But it was really important in the context of the game.’
England’s trip to Italy was arguably the toughest match of their Euro 2024 qualification campaign and they left with all three points, and they will be hoping to claim another win when Ukraine visit Wembley on Sunday.
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