U20s skipper Ciaran Clark looks back on a good night all-round.
England 2-0 Italy
7pm, Tuesday 31 March 2009,
Loftus Road, Queens Park Rangers FC
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Ciaran Clark had the honour of leading out England on Tuesday evening and managed to top it all off with a goal as the U20s began their pathway to the World Cup in Egypt this September.
The defender was in imperious form at the back throughout too, helping to keep a clean sheet as well as doing the damage at the other end of the pitch with a solid header from Aston Villa team-mate Marc Albrighton’s corner.
Clark skippered last season’s U19 team and helped them to qualify for the European Championship Finals only for a late injury to rule him out of the trip to Czech Republic, but he’s now back in the frame and looking forward to the next few months.
“It’s a good honour to be skipper again after missing out on Czech Republic, but I was just glad to here tonight with the U20s,” he told TheFA.com after the game.
“Noel (Blake) and Brian (Eastick) have been saying how set-pieces are a big factor in international games and that’s how it proved tonight.
“We were under the cosh a little bit, but after the goal we settled down and passed the ball around nicely and we’ve done well.
“A second goal always helps and we managed to get that and gain confidence.”
The scoreline could have been even greater, as the Young Lions clocked up a number of opportunities throughout the game to add more, but like all defenders, Clark took just as much pleasure from keeping Italy out at the other end.
“I thought we defended well and it was good to keep a clean sheet,” he added.
“There were a few chances in the second half, Daniel Sturridge had a header in the box and there were a few scrambles in the box but we were a bit unlucky not to get another couple.”England
1 David Button (13 Ben Amos, 46) 2 Javan Vidal, 3 Ryan Bertrand (12 Ben Mee, 76) 4 Josh Walker (14 Adam Clayton, 67) 5 James Tomkins (15 Chris Smalling, 46) 6 Ciaran Clark (c), Marc Albrighton (16 Jack Colback, 79) 8 Kieran Gibbs, 9 Daniel Sturridge (18 Tope Obadeyi, 82) 10 Freddie Sears, 11 Scott Sinclair (17 Junior Stanislas, 65).Substitutes all usedGoals:
Ciaran Clark (20), Daniel Sturridge (30), Italy
1 Carlo Pinsoglio, 2 Matteo Bruscagin, 3 Matteo Gentili (14 Francesco Pambianchi, 75), 4 Michaelangelo Albertazzi (15 Marco Calderoni, 46) 5 Massimiliano Tagliani (c), 6 Silvano Raggio Garibaldi, 7 Marco Augusto Romizi, 8 Andrea Mazzarani, 9 Stefano Okaka Chuca (18 Umberto Eusepi, 46) 10 Guido Marilungo (16 Claudio Della Penna, 46) 11 Mattia Mustacchio.Substitutes not used:
12 Sergio Viotti, 13 Salvatore D’Elia, 14 Francesco Pambianchi, 17 Leandro Antonio Martinez.OfficialsReferee
Steve TannerAssistant Referees
Stephen Child & Justin ComleyFourth Official