Coach Keith Downing was delighted to reflect on a job well done as England got their UEFA Under-19 Championship qualifying round underway with an assured 2-0 victory against Luxembourg.
Stephy Mavididi got England up and running within just three minutes in Rhyl, but it wasn't all plain sailing battling past a resolute Luxembourg defence.
Bobby Jiang in particular looked inspired in goal, but it was down to Ryan Sessegnon to confirm the points ten minutes from time, stabbing home from close range, with Downing overjoyed with the credentials his young team showed in Wales.
“We expected a real tough game and Luxembourg were very organised,” he said. “They were difficult to break down but from our point of view it's mission accomplished.
England 2-0 Luxembourg
UEFA U19 Championship qualifying round
Thursday November 10 2016
5pm Corbett Sports Stadium
“We wanted a good start to the campaign so we are pleased, it’s a nice platform for us to be able to move forward.
“We knew we would have to be patient and we got a little frustrated at times but we stuck to our game plan.
“We scored a well-worked early goal and we have 18 lads chomping at the bit to be part of this campaign and that goal epitomised that attitude.”
England strode into a third minute lead when Mavididi jinked his way past two defenders and into the Luxembourg penalty area, confidently passing the ball beyond Jiang and into the corner.
Dujon Sterling tried to repeat the trick shortly after, but with Jiang quickly at his feet, the Chelsea man was denied as England went in search of a second goal.
Jiang was called into action once more when he was forced to palm Jay DaSilva's venomous drive, while Sterling fizzed an effort narrowly over the bar, drawing a dominant first half to a close.
It took until the 53rd-minute for Luxembourg’s first shot on goal, a Fabien Heinz free-kick comfortably stopped by Aaron Ramsdale, while Ro-Shaun Williams had to be on his toes to deny Yannis Dublin baring down on goal.
But the crucial second goal eventually came after 80 minutes, with Sessegnon the beneficiary of some incessant England pressure.
He tucked the ball home after some superb work from Trevor Chalobah, weaving through a crowded penalty area before finding Sessegnon, adding the bow to an impressive England display.
And with Wales next up for Downing’s side as early as Saturday, the coach was left content at both ends of the pitch, with his side securing a first clean sheet since July.
He added: “Clean sheets are very important and the team is working very well without the ball.
“In the second-half we pressed even more and got the reward we were seeking with the second goal.
“Wales are a good team and will be looking to bounce back from their opening defeat (to Greece) so we are really looking forward to playing them.
“But we will have to utilise our squad to make sure we go on to qualify because these games come in quick succession along with playing Greece next Tuesday night.”
England Under-19s: 1 Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United); 2 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), 5 Ro-Shaun Williams (Manchester United), 6 Trevoh Chalobah (Chelsea), 3 Jay DaSilva (Chelsea); 7 Dujon Sterling (Chelsea), 8 Tayo Edun (Fulham), 15 Stephy Mavididi (Arsenal), 4 Tom Davies (Everton), 11 Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham); 9 Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (Aston Villa)
Substitutes: 10 Chris Willock (Arsenal) for Mavididi 63, 18 Nmecha (Manchester City) for Hepburn-Murphy 71, 17 Andre Green (Aston Villa) for Sessegnon 84
Substitutes not used: 13 William Mannion (Hull City), 12 Darnell Johnson (Leicester City), 14 Easah Suliman (Aston Villa), 16 Samuel Field (West Bromwich Albion)
Coach: Keith Downing
Goals: Stephy Mavididi 3, Ryan Sessegnon 80
Luxembourg Under-19s: 1 Bobby Jiang, 2 Eric Brandenberger, 4 Pit Simon, 5 Dirk Carlson, 3 Fabien Heinz, 7 Eric Schmit, 8 Jan Ostrowski, 6 Yannis Dublin, 11 Dany Da Costa, 10 Loris Tinelli, 9 Victor
Substitutes: 14 Bouche for Tinelli 74, 13 Bryan Gomes for Da Costa 79, 16 Ajdin Bjelic for Klein 81
Substitutes not used: 12 Luca Karels, 15 Luca Duriatti, 17 Kevin Marques, 18 Mirco Kips
Coach: Claude Campos
Referee: Donatas Rumsas