Redmond such a handful - Southgate

Banbury Cake: Nathan Redmond has been a thorn in Wales' side this season Nathan Redmond has been a thorn in Wales' side this season

Manager Gareth Southgate led the praise for hat-trick hero Nathan Redmond after his England team edged closer to next year's UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals.

The runaway Group One leaders moved nine points clear of second-placed Moldova, who have three games left and hold a vastly inferior goal difference, after Norwich winger Redmond notched three goals to sink Wales 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium.

His treble came less than three months after he scored the only goal when England beat Wales in Derby.

"The one area of his game he is looking to add is goals, and I think we are able to give him the freedom to play in more advanced areas," Southgate told Sky Sports 1.

"I thought he was such a handful all night.

"We have got three or four players that if we can get in one-versus-one situations, then they are devastating in attack. Tonight, his finishing matched the rest of his game.

"I thought we were terrific with the ball, the way we moved it, the pace. We created so many really good chances.

"Probably, if you were to be critical, we should have been more ruthless, but they are a fantastic group of players to work with. Everything you ask them to do, they take on board. I thought there were some outstanding performances.

"We want to make sure we keep putting markers down, that we are a side that teams will fear."

Redmond added: "We kept the ball well, and I managed to get in the right areas to score the goals.

"We've got a good young team, and the quality we show in training showed out there tonight. We kept it well, we created space and chances against a difficult Wales team that made it hard for us.

"We know we have still got to get one point to secure qualifying, but we want six points from the next two games. That's our mentality."

The result leaves Wales with little chance of progressing into the play-offs, despite Gwion Edwards breaching England's defence to draw his team level just two minutes after Redmond put England ahead.

It was a rare goal for England to concede during Southgate's reign, but they went on to dominate proceedings as Redmond scored his second before hitting the post midway through the second half and then striking a third goal during stoppage time.

"It was going to be a very tough game. If we were going to win, we had to be at our best defensively and with the ball," Wales manager Geraint Williams said.

"Unfortunately, in the first half we didn't defend as well as we did in the first game at Derby, and we conceded two bad goals from our point of view.

"We had two great chances in the first half, and those are the ones we have got to take.

"When you play against the top international sides you have got to defend as well as you can, and when you get those chances - one versus one - you have got to put them away."

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