England ended their preparations for the Under-21 European Championships with a convincing win over Norway at St Mary’s.
Daniel Sturridge gave England an early lead before Danny Rose’s crafty goal, doubled their lead.
Stuart Pearce was able to use 18 of his squad that will travel to Denmark and will reflect on an ideal result before taking on Europe's finest young talent.
Pearce’s side were aiming to put the finishing touches to their preparations for the Under-21 European Championships and got off to the perfect start on the south coast as they hit the front inside 10 minutes.
Ryan Bertrand’s run and cross fell perfectly for Sturridge who knocked into an empty net.
Allowed to the control possession for most of the afternoon, goalkeeper Frank Fielding was rarely troubled in the opening exchanges, but was forced to tip over Mads Stokkelien’s deflected shot mid-way through the first-half.
After a long season, England’s youngsters could have been forgiven for easing off, with Jack Rodwell and Jordan Henderson ably controlling the midfield, but they instead continued to press forward and doubled their lead just before half-time.
Rose picked the ball up wide on the left hand-side before cutting inside two players and unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner beyond a helpless Arid Ostbo.
Despite making five changes at half-time, England’s dominance continued.
First Sturridge forced Ostbo into a stunning reflex save after shooting from a tight angle, before Chris Smalling headed wide following Tom Cleverley’s delightful cross.
The Manchester United midfielder could have added a third himself but was denied by Ostbo, before the Norwegian stopper was at it again, saving from Michael Mancinene’s 30-yard effort.
While England were free flowing going forward, they were also strong and resolute at the back with Smalling and Phil Jones doing their burgeoning reputations no harm with a pair of assured performances.
Even the best efforts of Henri Lansbury and Cleverley couldn’t help yield a third England goal but that did nothing to take the gloss off a well earned victory, seven days before their first European Championship group game against Spain.
England U21’s: Fielding, Mancienne, Bertrand (Gibbs 45), Muamba (Cork 45), Smalling, Jones (Tomkins 84), Sturridge (Delfouneso 65), Henderson (Lansbury 45), Welbeck (Cleverly 45), Rodwell, Rose (Albrighton 45)
Unused substitutes: Steele, Wickham
Norway U21’s: Ostbo, Hedenstad, Wangberg, Rogne, Strandberg, Singh, Ibrahim, Kastrati (Backenga 85), Johansen (Ringstad 70), Berisha (Tveter 73), Stokkelien
Unused substitutes: Myklebust, Nyland, Linnes, Drage
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