England Under-21s striker Danny Ings made a dream homecoming with the Three Lions at Turf Moor.
The Clarets forward netted twice on his home turf to help fire Gareth Southgate’s side to a 3-1 victory over Euro rivals Portugal.
England 3-1 Portugal
Turf Moor, Burnley
Thursday 13 November 2014
And with Ings’s room-mate Carl Jenkinson adding another against a team who England will meet again next June in the Euro Finals, it was an encouraging start to this week’s double-header, with a trip to France on the cards for next Monday.
Ings, making just his third start for England, looked lively from the off with a darting run in the second minute taking him past three men to get the crowd on their feet.
The 22-year-old opened the scoring after just six minutes, following a well-worked move.
It started when Nathan Redmond expertly switched the ball from left to right, finding Tom Ince on the opposite flank. His low cross into the middle was met firmly by Ings from close range to give the crowd some early cheer.
After such a bright opening from the hosts, Portugal soon settled into the game and began to create some chances themselves, with Bruno Fernandes dragging one shot wastefully wide in the 20th minute.
England kept probing though, with Redmond and Ince proving a constant menace to Portugal.
Ince picked out Will Hughes in the area after 39 minutes only for an offside flag to deny him his eventual finish past Rui Silva.
But Hughes finally slipped the offside trap in the 44th minute when Redmond picked him out in the box with a cleverly disguised pass.
The Derby County man drilled a low cross into the middle and when it flew past everyone, Jenkinson arrived with perfect timing to slot home a low shot.
Portugal made two changes at the break and that had the desired effect for Rui Jorge’s side, as Armindo Bangna’s pass into the area found the impressive Bernardo Silva, who slotted a shot past Jack Butland from the angle just three minutes after the restart.
Ings restored the two-goal cushion just before the hour mark though, when sub and Turf Moor team-mate Nathaniel Chalobah sprayed a pass to Redmond on the left.
The Norwich winger’s low centre was stabbed goalwards and home by Ings to give his side a 3-1 lead.
Ings received a deserved standing ovation when he was replaced by Pat Bamford with just over 10 minutes remaining, as England calmly played out the game in possession.
Southgate and his players will know that their next encounter with Portugal in June will be a different proposition, but the result and elements of this performance will do no harm for their confidence and belief.
England (4-3-3): 1 Jack Butland (c) (Stoke City); 2 Carl Jenkinson (West Ham United, on loan from Arsenal), 6 Michael Keane (Burnley, loan from Manchester United), 5 Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), 3 Luke Garbutt (Everton); 4 Will Hughes (Derby County), 8 Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton & Hove Albion), 10 Tom Carroll (Swansea City, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur); 11 Nathan Redmond (Norwich City), 9 Danny Ings (Burnley), 7 Tom Ince (Nottingham Forest, on loan from Hull City).
Substitutes: 15 Nathaniel Chalobah (Burnley, loan from Chelsea) for Hughes 56; 16 Alex Pritchard (Brentford, loan from Tottenham Hotspur) for Redmond 73; 17 Patrick Bamford (Middlesbrough, loan from Chelsea) for Ings 79; 12 Jack Robinson (Huddersfield Town, loan from QPR) for Garbutt 79.
Substitutes not used: 13 Jonathan Bond (Watford), 14 Jamaal Lascelles (Nottingham Forest, loan from Newcastle United), 18 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), 19 Cauley Woodrow (Fulham), 20 Callum Wilson (AFC Bournemouth), 21 Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham).
Head coach: Gareth Southgate
Goals: Danny Ings 6, 58, Carl Jenkinson 44
Portugal (4-3-3): 22 Rui Silva, 2 Ricardo Esgaio (c ), 3 Tobias Figueiredo, 14 Federico Venancio, 5 Luis Alves; 23 Bruno Fernandes, 8 Bernardo Silva, 20 Pinto Ruben; 10 Ricardo Pereira, 19 Armindo Bangna.
Substitutes: 21 Ricardo Horta for Pereira, 15 Joao Cancelo for Esgaio, 18 Joao Teixeira for Fernandes 68, 11 Carlos Mane for Bangma 68, 9 Fabio Sturgeon for Pinto 68, 17 Joao Carlos Teixeira or Neves 82, 13 Bruno Gaspar for Alves 83.
Substitutes not used: 1 Daniel Fernandes, 4 Paulo Oliveira,16 Ruben Vezo, 12 Bruno Varela, 7 Antonio Carvalho.
Head coach: Rui Jorge
Goals: Bernardo Silva 48
Referee: Sebastien Coltescu (Romania)
Assistant referees: Vasile Marinescu and Alexandru Cerei (Romania)
Fourth official: Tony Harrington (England)
Watch highlights of the game from Turf Moor