VIDEO: Rose and Kelly on the mark
Tuesday, 10 August, 2010
England triumph over Uzbekistan in one-sided match in Bristol.
Jamie Bradbury in Bristol
Click here to watch highlights of England's victory over Uzbekistan.
England’s Under-21s enjoyed a confidence-boosting 2-0 win over Uzbekistan with next month’s must-win Euro qualifiers firmly in mind.
Stuart Pearce’s side came into the game, the first of the new season, off the back of a 2-1 defeat to Greece in their Euro 2011 Qualifying group, and a five month break without a match.
It gave a number of new faces an opportunity to impress ahead of the final two Group Nine games next month against Portugal and Lithuania, but there was also another set of important eyes watching as second half goals from Danny Rose and Martin Kelly sealed the win.
England Manager Fabio Capello witnessed a largely one-sided affair as a Young Lions side featuring three debutants at the kick off impressed with free-flowing football and sharp passing. As well as first appearances for Sunderland’s Jordan Henderson, Wigan Athletic’s Victor Moses and Blackburn Rovers defender Phil Jones, there was also a first start for goalkeeper Frank Fielding.
The Blackburn stopper had made two previous appearances as substitute, but was due to follow Capello to London after the game to provide cover for the seniors’ game at Wembley 24 hour later. And he wasn’t really troubled at all in a game in which England were virtually parked in their opponent’s half.
If it wasn’t for an outstanding display by Fielding’s Uzbek counterpart Sanjar Kuvvatov, Capello would have seen a flurry of goals to top off some encouraging individual performances.
Captain Jack Rodwell was one of the stars of the show, winning the man of the match award, and could have had a couple of goals to add to his first game with the armband. His best effort was a silky run through the heart of the Uzbekistan defence, but he was foiled at the last by Kuvvatov.
The first chance of the game fell to Jones, though, whose header flashed wide. He then had another chance after lifting the ball over the keeper, but saw his effort nodded from the line. The lively Danny Rose also had a couple of opportunities but he also found Kuvvatov in his way.
Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge looked to have done the hard work bringing down a lofted Rodwell throughball just before the break, but once again the Mashal Mubarek keeper was equal to the shot.
The opening goal 20 minutes into the second half came from another Sturridge effort after he’d pulled down Kyle Walker’s raking pass to the back post. This time though, Kuvvarov’s block fell kindly for Rose and he stroked home for his second Under-21s goal.
12 minutes later England doubled their lead and it was another debutant, second half sub Kelly, who found the net. He met Tom Cleverley’s cross at the back post with a powerful header back across goal. It bounced nicely for the Liverpool defender as it found its way over the dive of Kuvvarov and nestled into the net.
Henri Lansbury, Rose, Danny Welbeck and Michael Mancienne all had good chances to extend the advantage in the closing stages but it remained 2-0. Nonetheless, an encouraging performance from Pearce’s men with six point needed next month.
You can follow all the latest from the England Under-21s here on TheFA.com, on the team's Facebook page ( www.facebook.com/EnglandU21s ), or on Twitter ( www.twitter.com/thefadotcom ).