Stuart Pearce's Under-21s boast a mean defensive record of conceding just one goal in nine games.
International Under-21 Friendly
7.30pm, Thursday 15 May 2008
The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham FC
Stuart Pearce's England Under-21 side beat their Welsh counterparts in Wrexham last night and kept another clean sheet.
They have conceded just ONE goal in the last nine internationals, indicating a particularly mean defence!
The results have been 3-0 v Montenegro (away), 2-0 v Bulgaria (away), 1-0 v Montenegro (home), 3-0 v Rep of Ireland (away), 2-0 v Bulgaria (home), 1-1 v Portugal (away), 3-0 v Rep of Ireland (home), 0-0 v Poland (home) and 2-0 v Wales (away).
Only Portugal's Vieirinha has breached England's defence in thirteen and a half hours of football. He did it with a third-minute penalty in Agueda last November.
Manchester City's Joe Hart was England's 'keeper in all nine fixtures. Players like David Wheater, Steven Taylor and Joe Mattock also starred in front of him.
The last England Under-21 defence to perform comparably was the one put together by Peter Taylor when he first got the job as full-time boss in 1996. His Under-21 side also let in one goal in nine games. The results were 2-0 v Moldova (away), 0-0 v Poland (home), 1-0 v Georgia (away), 1-0 v Italy (home), 0-0 v Switzerland (home), 0-0 v Georgia (home), 1-1 v Poland (away), 1-0 v Moldova (home) and 1-0 v Italy (away).
But, ultimately, the current team's run is the more impressive one. Pearce has won seven and drawn two out of the nine; Taylor won five and drew four.
Tom Huddlestone won his 26th Under-21 cap last night, leaving him fifth in the all-time list. Joe Hart, now on 12, is the fifth most-capped 'keeper at that level.
1 Wayne Hennessey, 2 Neal Eardley (15 Christian Ribeiro, 63), 3 Joe Jacobson (c), 4 Jack Collison, 5 Chris Gunter, 6 Lewin Nyatanga, 7 David Cotterill (16 Nicky Adams, 77), 8 David Edwards, 9 Sam Vokes (18 Simon Church, 63), 10 Ched Evans (20 Craig Davies, 77), 11 Shaun McDonald.
Subs not used 12 Grant Basey, 14 Mike Williams, 17 Mark Bradley, 19 Marc Williams, 21 Owain Fon Williams
Manager Brian Flynn
1 Joe Hart (13 Joe Lewis, 46), 2 Martin Cranie, 3 Andrew Taylor (16 Jamie O’Hara, 57), 4 Lee Cattermole, 5 Michael Mancienne, 6 David Wheater (c) (14 Scott Dann, 46), 7 Theo Walcott, 8 Tom Huddlestone, 9 Gabriel Agbonlahor (17 Dexter Blackstock, 57), 10 Grant Leadbitter (15 Fabrice Muamba, 72), 11 Adam Johnson (12 Ryan Shawcross, 86)
Coach Stuart Pearce
Referee Alan Black (Northern Ireland)
Assistants Paul Munn and Dan Steele (both Northern Ireland)
Fourth Official Lee Evans (Wales)