Roy Hodgson leads England Under-21s to a 6-0 win over Scotland at Bramall Lane
England Under 21s 6-0 Scotland
Kick It Out International
7.30pm, Tuesday 13 August 2013
Bramall Lane, Sheffield United FC
Live on BT Sport
By Nicholas Veevers in Sheffield
England’s opening clash of this week with the ‘Auld Enemy’ ended with a fine performance and victory for the Under-21s in Sheffield.
With Roy Hodgson in charge of both this age group and the senior team for the season’s opening games, he will head south from Bramall Lane in good spirits ahead of the game at Wembley in 24 hours' time.
First-half goals from the lively pair of Nathan Redmond and Raheem Sterling set England on their way in what was a fluent, if slightly patchy, opening to the game from the hosts.
But the close-season cobwebs were well and truly blown away in a goal-laden spell in the early stages of the second half, which saw the Three Lions hit four more goals and play breathtaking football to boot.
Connor Wickham, Ross Barkley, Jonjo Shelvey and Tom Carroll all scored in the space of 13 minutes to really put a shine on the performance and left an impressive crowd in Sheffield happy with their lot.
With England’s opening Euro qualifier against Moldova to come next month, it was a confidence-boosting display and will certainly give any incoming head coach plenty of food for thought.
It was a perfect start to the new campaign too, with a goal after less than three minutes. Shelvey spotted the space behind Scotland’s defence and placed a raking 50-yard pass across the pitch into the path of Redmond. He took one touch to control and steadied himself before poking a shot past Jordan Archer to draw first blood.
And Wickham was unfortunate not to be the next on the scoresheet, when his shot on the turn from a Sterling pass was blocked and then diverted into the path of Shelvey only to roll wide.
But on a rare breakaway England were given a warning shot, as Scotland should have got themselves level. Islam Feruz won the visitors a rare corner and when Jack Butland couldn’t claim the first cross, a shot from captain Stuart Armstrong was blocked before Clark Robertson placed a header well wide.
It was England who always looked the more likely to add a second though and that proved to be the case seven minutes before the break.
Shelvey was again the architect, dragging a low pass into Wickham who flicked out to Redmond. The ball broke into Sterling, via a Scottish defender’s shin pad, and the Liverpool star was left to take his time in the area and clip a finish past Archer to put the Three Lions in control at the break.
Scotland were in no position to be gifting further goals to England, but that’s exactly what they did less than five minutes after the re-start.
And it was Archer who was left red-faced this time, as his sliced kick-out looped straight into the path of Wickham who instinctively lobbed it over the stranded ‘keeper and into the goal.
That kick-started England’s spree and moments later, more sloppy Scottish play from the back presented the ball to Wickham and when the ball fell loose to Barkley, he made no mistake by side-stepping his marker and slotting home from inside the area.
Scotland barely had chance to re-start the game again and it was five, as Shelvey capped off a fine night for him with the best goal of the evening.
Collecting a knock-down from Wickham, as soon as it left his right foot, his 30-yard strike was destined for only one place and Archer was left helpless as the ball nestled into the top corner.
And Hodgson’s side weren’t finished, as Redmond signed off for the night with a driving run past three defenders and into the area. He cut a pass back into the danger zone, where sub Tom Carroll was waiting to lash home from inside the box.
That was the end of the goalscoring, but there were further half-chances for Barkley and fellow subs Harry Kane and Sammy Ameobi as England closed out the game.
It means nothing in terms of points, but the squad will certainly take encouragement from this performance as they prepare for the road to Czech Republic in 2015.
1 Jack Butland, 2 John Stones, 3 Jack Robinson, 4 Nathaniel Chalobah (17 Ross Barkley, 44), 5 Andre Wisdom (c) (16Tom Thorpe, 73), 6 Michael Keane, 7 Raheem Sterling (19 Sammy Ameobi, 66), 8 Will Hughes (15 Eric Dier, 73) 9 Connor Wickham (24 Harry Kane, 58) 10 Jonjo Shelvey (18 Tom Carroll, 58) 11 Nathan Redmond (20 Jesse Lingard, 66).
Substitutes not used 12 Todd Kane, 13 Sam Johnstone, 14 Luke Garbutt, 21 George Long, 22 Jonathan Bond, 23 Saido Berahino.
Goals: Nathan Redmond (3), Raheem Sterling (38), Connor Wickham (49), Ross Barkley (55), Jonjo Shelvey (56), Tom Carroll (61)
Manager Roy Hodgson
1 Jordan Archer, 2 Ryan Jack (13 Kieran Duffie, 46), 3 Brad McKay, 4 Clark Robertson, 5 Kevin McHattie, 6 Fraser Fyvie, 7 Dylan McGeouch, 8 Stuart Bannigan (16 Lewis Macleod, 79), 9 Islam Feruz (18 Stevie May, 62) 10 Stuart Armstrong (19 David Smith, 62), 11 Tony Watt (15 Jason Holt,73).
Substitutes not used 12 Christopher Kettings, 14 Stuart Findlay, 17 Jamie Walker, 21 Jack Hamilton.
Manager Billy Stark
Referee Danny Makkelie
Assistant Referees Charl Schaap & Jan De Vries
Fourth Official James Adcock