England U21 Team Win in Southampton

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England won their final friendly before this summer’s European Championship with an easy 2-0 victory over Norway.

A strong under-21 side – who were only missing Jack Wilshere, Andy Carroll and Micah Richards – never looked in danger of losing the match against a Norway team that rarely threatened.

England went ahead early on as Daniel Sturridge tapped in a Ryan Bertrand cross. Sturridge, who has impressed on a loan spell with Bolton this year, was lively from the beginning, looking every bit like a player who will find moving into the senior team an easy transition. Between him and Danny Rose, England created several more chances before Rose himself put England two ahead with a cracking solo effort.

England made six changes at half time and inevitably lost focus, but Henri Lansbury showed potential with a couple of strong breakouts from midfield, and Kieran Gibbs had a steady forty-five minutes at left-back.

It was the defense that impressed, however, with captain Michael Mancienne and man-of-the-match Chris Smalling commanding an England backline that ensured Derby keeper Frank Fielding kept a clean sheet, whose couple of good saves were marred by some horrendous passes.

St. Mary’s attracted a healthy attendance of over 17,000, many of which were students or families who were taking advantage of the £10 ticket prices. Those that were there for the line-up announcement entertained themselves by chuckling at the humorous name of the Norway defender Simen Wangberg, who will no doubt be down on many a Football Manager team sheet for years to come.

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