Jordan Henderson hopes Gareth Southgate has done enough to land the job of England manager on a long-term basis, despite the late collapse against Spain.
Having been in charge for four matches in an interim spell following Sam Allardyce’s sudden exit in September, Southgate is the overwhelming favourite to be given the position full-time.
England have recorded two wins and avoided defeat in his four games at the helm, although Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Spain ended on a negative note at Wembley as Julen Lopetegui’s men struck twice in the final two minutes to deny the hosts.
Henderson was captain in the absence of regular skipper Wayne Rooney and felt devastated after the match, but still put forward Southgate’s case to be given the role by stressing how he has improved the team.
“When you have asked all the players the question, they have all been very supportive of the manager,” the Liverpool midfielder told reporters.
“He has been brilliant to work with over this period of time. I think we have progressed in the short space of time he has been here, from the first game to this game, and that is definitely a good sign that we are going in the right direction.
“It is out of our hands now but the players have worked tremendously hard for the manager and hopefully in the end, he will get it and we can keep going in this direction.
“I think he will be a bit disappointed like we are [by the Spain game]. We are devastated because we put a lot of work into it.
“Even though Spain had a lot more possession, I thought we were still in control without the ball. They didn’t create many chances apart from the two goals but there are a lot of positives to come out of it.”
England do not play again until March, when they travel to Germany for a friendly before hosting Lithuania in World Cup qualifying.
Henderson continued: “I’m sure the manager will be pleased about what we have done on the training field and how we put that into the game. We need to keep working.
“After the game, we are disappointed because we put so much into it and wanted to win the game.
“But I’m sure if we reflect on the game, then the main things were the performance, the way we set up and doing things we worked on in training. We did that for the majority of the game.”