Two goals in three first-half minutes laid the foundations for a comfortable England victory over USA on the night Wembley Stadium paid tribute to Wayne Rooney.
Jesse Lingard broke the deadlock on 25 minutes, curling home a wonderful effort from the edge of the box.
Man of the match Trent Alexander-Arnold doubled the lead soon after, rifling into the bottom corner, and debutant Callum Wilson completed the scoring on 77 minutes.
- The Wayne Rooney Foundation International
- Thursday 15 November 2018
- Wembley Stadium
And here are five talking points from a memorable night under the arch:
The night was all about one man; England’s former captain, record goalscorer and most-capped outfield player.
Rooney returned to the fold to make his 120th, and final, appearance in a Three Lions jersey.
He replaced Lingard on 58 minutes and received a hero’s welcome from the 68,155 inside Wembley Stadium.
Rooney’s every touch was cheered and he was urged to shoot at every opportunity.
The England legend was unable to find a goal to further mark his special night, but he certainly got the send-off he wanted, and deserved.
England were in control from the off and they took the lead after less than half an hour.
After some neat build up play, Dele slipped the ball to Lingard who whipped a beautiful effort beyond Guzan and into the far corner. It wasn’t too dissimilar to his goal against Panama at the World Cup.
With USA rattled, the second goal came just moments later as Alexander-Arnold registered his first England goal by smashing home from an acute angle Jadon Sancho’s well-timed lay-off.
The hosts’ impressive display was capped by Wilson’s debut goal with just 13 minutes remaining.
Sancho on song
Sancho made his England debut as a second-half substitute in the goalless draw with Croatia last month. The empty stadium in Rijeka, following UEFA orders, made for one of the stranger introductions to international football.
But here the 18-year-old had the chance to shine in front of an appreciative Wembley crowd.
Sancho started on the left of a front three and was one of England’s brightest sparks throughout, his nimble footwork drawing audible gasps from Three Lions faithful.
And he capped his star turn by setting up Alexander-Arnold for the second goal.
AFC Bournemouth striker Wilson was rewarded for his prolific start to the season with his maiden international appearance – and he capped it with a poacher’s goal.
He had led the line admirably and had only had a couple of half chances when Delph picked him out from the left. Wilson got ahead of his man at the near post to turn home England’s third.
There were debuts, too, for Brighton & Hove Albion defender Lewis Dunk and Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
Playing alongside Everton’s Michael Keane at the heart of the England backline, Dunk was barely troubled by a lacklustre USA side, save from one attack in the first half when Christian Pulisic somehow bundled his way through but hit his shot straight at Jordan Pickford. It was a reasonably comfortable introduction to the big time for the 26-year-old.
McCarthy replaced Pickford at half time, but, much like Dunk in front of him, he didn’t have an awful lot to do on his England bow.
All eyes on Croatia
This was a decent warm-up for the pivotal UEFA Nations League clash against Croatia at the weekend.
Although USA offered little in the way of an attacking threat, England showed plenty of examples of the progress they have made under Southgate’s watch.
Croatia’s dramatic 3-2 win in Spain blows things wide open in League A, Group 4, with all three teams still able to finish top of the pile.
It’s now a winner-takes-all affair at a sold-out Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
England (4-2-3-1): 1 Jordan Pickford (Everton); 2 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), 5 Michael Keane (Everton), 6 Lewis Dunk (Brighton & Hove Albion), 3 Ben Chilwell (Leicester City); 4 Fabian Delph (capt; Manchester City), 8 Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur); 7 Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), 11 Dele (Tottenham Hotspur), 14 Jesse Lingard (Manchester United); 9 Callum Wilson (AFC Bournemouth).
Substitutes: 21 Alex McCarthy (Southampton) for Pickford 46, 22 Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur) for Chilwell 58, 16 Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) for Dele 58, 10 Wayne Rooney (D.C. United) for Lingard 58, 23 Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) for Winks 70, 19 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) for Wilson 79.
Substitutes not used: 12 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), 13 Jack Butland (Stoke City), 15 Kyle Walker (Manchester City), 17 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), 18 Ross Barkley (Chelsea), 20 John Stones (Manchester City).
Goals: Lingard 25, Alexander-Arnold 27, Wilson 77.
Manager: Gareth Southgate
USA (4-2-3-1): 1 Brad Guzan; 2 DeAndre Yedlin, 3 Matt Miazga, 6 John Brooks, 19 Jorge Villafana; 20 Will Trapp (capt), 8 Weston McKennie, 10 Christian Pulisic, 16 Julian Green, 11 Timothy Weah; 7 Bobby Wood.
Substitutes: 4 Tyler Adams for Green 62, 23 Kellyn Acosta for Trapp 70, 15 Kenneth Saief for Weah 76, 14 Sebastian Lletget for McKennie 76, 18 Shaq Moore for Villafana 88.
Substitutes not used: 5 Cameron Carter-Vickers, 9 Marky Delgado, 25 Reggie Cannon.
Head coach: Dave Sarachan
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano