England Under-20s completed the clean sweep of victories at the Four Nations tournament thanks to late goals from Ovie Ejaria and Dominic Solanke to see off USA.
With Paul Williams’ team having already secured victories against the Netherlands and Germany over the last week, they had to be patient before breaking the deadlock six minutes from time through Liverpool’s Ejaria with his first goal for the Young Lions.
England 2-0 USA
Four Nations Tournament
Monday 10 October 2016
Spotland, Rochdale FC
And victory was assured with virtually the last kick of the game as Chelsea striker Solanke stroked in a stoppage-time penalty.
Williams said: "I’m pleased for the players. It’s good that people recognise how good they are and they've won the tournament which is very, very pleasing.
"I've learnt lots about the players through the entire camp. I know sometimes the crowd get frustrated with playing out but at this age you've got to develop and learn. The players need to come up with solutions.
"It might look a bit slow and lumbered at times but they have to learn to get out of situations because when we go to the World Cup, we'll have different scenarios that the coach can't always solve for the players.
"I’ve asked the players to express themselves a bit more. I’ve asked the players to be brave on the ball. At this moment in time we’re trying to give these players lots of playing time.
"I believe in these players. They are an outstanding, talented group. If they play to their potential and to their level then we'll go further into the competition."
The first half saw both sides cancel each other out, with chances limited as England struggled to find their way through a stubborn USA defence, despite the best efforts of the lively Patrick Roberts, who netted in the 2-0 win over the Netherlands.
The visitors created their first clear-cut chance in first-half added time when Tommy Redding saw his low effort pushed away at the near post by the alert Dean Henderson.
England started the second half on the front foot, with Roberts seeing his curling effort from the edge of the area pushed onto his post by Jonathan Klinsmann.
The USA replied with Arsenal's Gedion Zelalem testing substitute keeper Luke Southwood from distance.
Klinsmann then produced an outstanding save on 73 minutes as he tipped Harrison Chapman’s long-range effort over the bar as England stepped up a gear.
Kieran Dowell then saw his thunderous strike pushed wide by the excellent Klinsmann with 10 minutes remaining.
With time running out, Klinsmann was finally beaten as substitute Ejaria ran at the USA defence and curled an effort into the far corner before Solanke sealed the win in added time as he stroked home from the penalty spot following a push.
Williams added: “We stuck to the game plan, but credit to the US though, as they've seen the two games we've played and essentially blocked it off for us.
"So we had to use the wide areas in the second half. We spoke to the players and in the second half we had more territory and were more composed in the final third."
England Under-20s: 13 Dean Henderson (Grimsby Town, loan from Manchester United); 2 Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham Hotspur), 14 Reece Oxford (West Ham United), 12 Jake Clarke-Salter (Bristol Rovers, loan from Chelsea), 16 Callum Connolly (Everton), 18 Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal) (c), 23 Louis Reed (Sheffield United), 25 Callum Roberts (Newcastle United), 7 Patrick Roberts (Celtic, loan from Manchester City), 11 Harrison Chapman (Sheffield United, loan from Middlesbrough), 10 Dominic Solanke (Chelsea)
Substitutes: 1 Luke Southwood (Reading) for Henderson 46, 3 Jonjoe Kenny (Everton) for Walker-Peters 46, 6 Taylor Moore (Bristol City) for Clarke-Salter 46, 19 Axel Tuanzebe (Manchester United) for Reed 46, 9 Adam Armstrong (Barnsley loan from Newcastle United) for P. Roberts 63, 17 Tafari Moore (FC Utrecht loan from Arsenal) for Connolly 63, 20 Kieran Dowell (Everton) for C.Roberts 63, 21 Ovie Ejaria (Liverpool) for Chapman 76
Substitutes not used: 5 Dael Fry (Rotherham United, loan from Middlesbrough), 8 Ademola Lookman, 15 Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea), 24 Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)
Head Coach: Paul Williams
Goals: Ovie Ejaria 84, Dominic Solanke 90+3 (Penalty)
USA Under-20s: 1 Jonathan Klinsmann, 13 Miles Robinson, 14 Tommy Redding, 5 Cameron Carter-Vickers (c), 16 Hugo Arellano, 21 Danny Acosta, 20 Luca De La Torre, 8 Derrick Jones, 11 Sebastian Saucedo, 10 Gedion Zelalem, 18 Jeremy Ebobisse
Substitutes: 9 Emmanuel Sabbi for Ebobisse 68, 2 Marlon Fossey for Robinson 68, 19 Victor Mansaray for Saucedo 76, 7 Brooks Lennon for Zelalem 83
Substitutes not used: 12 Justin Vom Steeg, 4 Jonathan Suarez,17 Toni Suddoth, 24 Auston Trusty
Head coach: Tab Ramos