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Gareth Southgate wants no let-up in England games in quest to improve

• England play France in Paris, having lost to Germany and drawn with Spain
• Manager says the way to learn and get stronger is to play the best

It was at the end of a long question-and-answer session in the early-afternoon sunshine of Croissy-sur-Seine, the affluent town west of Paris where England are preparing for their final assignment of the season, that someone asked Gareth Southgate if he was ever tempted to find easier opposition.

On Tuesday night it is the Stade de France to meet the finalists of Euro 2016. England’s last foreign excursion was to play in Germany and they will meet the world champions again at Wembley in November. Southgate’s team have already taken on Spain and, continuing the theme, there is the possibility of a game against Holland in Amsterdam next March. England, Southgate freely admitted, are deliberately making life hard for themselves.

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