England rediscovered their ruthless streak to end their three-match winless run by thumping UEFA Under-21 Championship hosts Denmark 4-0 in Viborg.

Danny Welbeck, Scott Sinclair, the outstanding Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson all found the net as Stuart Pearce's youngsters sent out an ominous warning to their European rivals ahead of this summer's finals.

England pounced on defensive mistakes made by the Danes, who failed to punish a string of those from their opponents, although Nicolai Jorgensen wrongly had a goal chalked off for offside.

The visitor's night started badly when, for the second match in succession, Pearce was forced into an early change. Captain Micah Richards carried off on a stretcher after pulling up inside three minutes with what appeared a hamstring problem.

James Tomkins came on and was immediately on the back foot as Mike Jensen pounced on a Ryan Bertrand mistake, burst forward and shot straight at full debutant Alex McCarthy. Nicki Bille Nielsen also blazed over from a tight angle, while Denmark sent more than one 20-yard shot straight at Reading goalkeeper McCarthy.

England took the lead in the 23rd minute when Michael Lumb, under no pressure underneath Tomkins' wayward long ball, managed to head it straight to Welbeck. Sunderland's on-loan Manchester United striker still had plenty to do 25 yards out but did it superbly, taking a touch before rifling left-footed into the top corner.

Kyle Naughton came to England's rescue five minutes later, blocking and clearing off his own line after Anders Christiansen played a one-two with Nielsen and rounded McCarthy.

Lumb thought he had atoned for his error two minutes after the break when his sliderule pass found Jorgensen, who cut inside and fired into the bottom corner. Despite being clearly onside, the latest of flags went up as the winger unleashed his shot.

Denmark shot themselves in the foot again in the 58th minute when Sturridge's 30-yard curler was parried by Jonas Lossl straight to Swansea striker Sinclair, who tapped home his first goal at this level.

The Danes were demoralised and Bolton's on-loan Chelsea forward Sturridge got the goal his performance deserved four minutes later when he bamboozled Erik Sviatchenko before sliding the ball past Lossl from 10 yards.

Ryan Bertrand was booked for time-wasting before Henderson took advantage of more appalling defending to outmuscle Andreas Bjelland and slot in England's fourth.

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Topics:
Sunderland
Reading
Football
Championship
Bolton Wanderers
Chelsea
Jordan Henderson
Alex
Danny Welbeck
Manchester United
James Tomkins
Daniel Sturridge
Stuart Pearce
Micah Richards
Kyle Naughton
Scott Sinclair
Ryan Bertrand
Swansea City