England – England under 21 Team News

European Championship U21 – England reach semis

Stuart Pearce’s England U21s comprehensively outplayed Spain in Gothenburg to progress to the semi-finals of the European U21 Championships with a 2-0 victory.

FOOTBALL England's James Milner shoots against Spain in their U21 Championship clash - 0

Two goals in the space of six minutes in the second half did the damage for England, with Frazier Campbell and James Milner finding the net – the latter making up for an earlier penalty miss – to make their side the first to qualify for the next round of the tournament.

From the opening whistle England looked the better side, with Gabriel Agbonlahor latching on to Milner’s excellent cross in the first minute, forcing the first of several good stops from the excellent Spanish keeper Sergio Asenjo.

After that, however, the game slipped into a very slow tempo that saw little invention from the England team – and even less from the Spanish, whose disinterested performance was slightly baffling considering the potential importance of the game within the context of the tournament.

The next clear chance turned out to be a mix-up in the England defensive quarters that almost gifted a terrible own goal, as Nedum Onuoha overhit his 13th minute back pass to Joe Hart.

To make matters worse, Hart was miles out of position but the Manchester City keeper just about scrabbled back to collect the ball before it drifted over the line.

England edged possession for the rest of the half, but it wasn’t until the half-hour mark that the next clear chance came when Milner’s run into the box was ended clumsily by a mis-timed challenge by Javi Garcia.

Milner picked himself up to take the spot kick, and though it was a good effort Asenjo guessed well and dived brilliantly to palm the ball around the right post.

The chance prompted more fight from Spain, and on 37 minutes Bojan Krkic gave the hosts their first chance of the night – and their only chance of the first half – with a rifled effort from 25 yards that had Hart beaten but refused to curl enough to find the top corner.

The same player enjoyed the first chance of the second half when played into space on the edge of the box after 49 minutes, but miscontrolled to squander the opportunity and was substituted a few minutes later.

Another England defensive error almost gifted Spain the lead on 54 minutes as Raul Garcia caught Hart miles out of his goal – and in fact well outside of the penalty box – but his shot was cleared off the line by Kieran Gibbs, who tracked back furiously to get there.

The match had begun to look evenly balanced, but then the first of the goals changed everything as Milner’s ball put Campbell in on the defence.

The substitute striker – brought on for the injured Agbonlahor just before the break – took it brilliantly, cutting back up to the edge of the box to lose his markers, and then slamming a stunning left-foot strike cleanly into the bottom-right corner giving Asenjo no chance.

And six minutes later a piece of individual brilliance from Theo Walcott gave Milner the goal that his performance deserved and put the match beyond doubt.

The Arsenal star’s pace left the Spanish defence standing as he charged down the left flank, and the ball pulled back to Milner allowed the Villa man to bury a perfect finish into the centre of the goal.

The Spanish tried hard to come back in to the match, but the impressive England defence closed ranks effectively as England secured their passage into the semi-finals of the tournament – and in this form, they look likely to prove tough opposition for whoever they come to meet in the next round.

World Cup Qualifiers – England 6-0 Andorra

Six of the best for England
Perfect ten: Rooney scores his second

England scored three goals in each half to secure a 6-0 win over Andorra at Wembley on Wednesday.

Wayne Rooney and Jermaine Defoe grabbed two goals apiece while Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch completed the scoring for Fabio Capello’s men.

Rooney got the ball rolling inside the first five minutes when he headed home Glen Johnson’s cross from the right.

England were made to wait for the second but it duly arrived when Theo Walcott cut the ball back for Lampard to pass home before Rooney collected his 10th England goal of season when he comprehensively volleyed Johnson’s cross into the back of the net.

Defoe replaced Rooney at half-time and got in on the act after 73 minutes when Johnson got his third assist of the night as Defoe rose to nod home the fourth.

The Tottenham striker added his second two minutes later when he tapped in a rebound after David Beckham’s free-kick had been spilled. The scoring was completed when Crouch scuffed the ball in 10 minutes from time.

England now know a win against Croatia on September 9th will seal a place at next year’s World Cup with two games to spare.

My Man of the Match in a game which to be honest I did not enjoy that much was David Beckham. Becks had all the time in the world to pick a pass and that’s what he does best. It will be interesting to see if he will have that time and space against better teams and if he doesnt  will he have the pace to deal with it if he gets picked again?

England overcame a shaky start to move closer to the 2010 World Cup with a 4-0 win away to Kazakhstan, their sixth consecutive qualifying victory.

FOOTBALL England celebrate Kazakhstan - 0

Despite the convincing look of the result, England did not play well, but they did not have to against moderate opponents who faded badly in the second half.

Gareth Barry and Emile Heskey scored late in the first period before Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard, from the penalty spot, added more gloss to the scoreline.

Fabio Capello might have a 100 per cent record in group 6 qualifiers, but that does not mean his side are immune to playing badly.

They had previously endured sticky moments at home to Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and away to Belarus – conceding in each game – but the Italian has infused them with enough resolve to overcome their opponents where previous sides might have folded.

This match contained little to applaud from England, but that will scarcely matter if Capello’s team pick up the handful of points now required to guarantee a place in South Africa next summer.

England lacked movement, invention, composure and basic technique, but still had more than enough to beat a side whose manager Bernd Storck compared them to an English conference side.

Yet there was an early scare reminiscent of the start against San Marino in 1993, where a calamitous Stuart Pearce back pass allowed Davide Gualtieri to score after just eight seconds.

The match had barely kicked off when Glen Johnson gave the ball away to Zhambyl Kukeyev, who raced clear down the left and crossed to an unmarked striker.

This time, however, Sergey Ostapenko failed to make proper contact with his shot, although that did little to ease Johnson’s embarrassment.

The Portsmouth right-back, who has been linked with a return to his former club Chelsea, played nervously throughout the first half, squandering possession and needlessly thumping the ball out when some clear thinking would have seen him find a team-mate.

Soon after, Ostapenko had the ball in the net, heading in from a free-kick then wheeling away to celebrate wildly for a good 30 seconds before realising he had been flagged offside.

It made uncomfortable viewing for England fans, particularly given their own lack of chances at the other end.

Lampard and Rooney were wayward with long shots before Heskey fired a low effort that Alexandr Mokin did just enough to push onto the post.

There is a reason why Kazakhstan conceded more goals than Andorra in their first five matches, and their defensive frailties eventually emerged without much encouragement from England.

A 40th-minute corner from the England left was played short and returned to Steven Gerrard, who crossed deep to the unmarked Barry to plant a simple header past Mokin.

It was two in the first minute of stoppage time. A raking Gerrard pass took a wicked deflection, forcing Mokin to parry clear, but the ball fell to the feet of Heskey who sidefooted simply into the net.

It was the Aston Villa striker’s second goal in as many England appearances, although his tally of seven from 53 caps hardly qualifies as prolific; this was his first goal in a competitive match since the 2002 World Cup.

The second half was barely any better. The Kazakhs, whose fitness levels have been criticised by Storck, tired badly but England seemed uninterested in running up the score.

Rooney eventually added a third in the 73rd minute. A Johnson cross bobbled up onto the Manchester United man’s knee, forcing a superb save from Mokin. But the rebound came to Rooney, about whose overhead kick the goalkeeper could do nothing.

Four minutes later, Heskey was hauled down in the box and Lampard slammed the resultant penalty high into the net.

It might not have been scintillating stuff, but more of the same against Andorra on Wednesday will see England move to the brink of the World Cup.

Capello set to name England squad.

England boss Fabio Capello will be keeping his fingers crossed with all 20 clubs in action on the final day of the Premier League season.

Shaun Wright-Phillips
Wright-Phillips won the last of his 24 caps against Ukraine in April

Capello has already lost Shaun Wright-Phillips, David James and Stewart Downing to injury ahead of his side’s two World Cup qualifiers in June.

England travel to Kazakhstan on Saturday 6 June and play Andorra at home on 10 June.

Capello will name his squad at about 2000 BST on Sunday.

Wright-Phillips has missed the last six weeks with a knee problem and suffered a reaction when he returned to training this week.

The 27-year-old was hoping to make his Man City return against Bolton at Eastlands on Sunday, but those plans have been put on hold.

“Now Shaun will have to see a specialist,” said City manager Mark Hughes.

“He is not going to be available at the weekend and he may well have a wash out of his knee in the close-season that would enable him to be fit for the start of pre-season training.

“He has worked really hard trying to get fit but this problem needs to be addressed and we must look at it.”

Downing, meanwhile, will miss the England games after undergoing surgery on his right foot on Friday.

The 24-year-old had a pin inserted to mend a bone broken in a tackle by Stiliyan Petrov during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, and is not expected to return before the start of pre-season training in July.

Stewart is going to be out for two or three months at least,” said Boro’s assistant manager Malcolm Crosby.

England number one James had a shoulder operation on Wednesday that will prevent him from adding to his 48 caps.

James has started every game under Capello, and with Ben Foster and Chris Kirkland also injured, West Ham’s Robert Green appears to be the favourite to fill in for the Pompey stopper.

“One thing I’ve learned about the manager is that he does not take any notice of anyone else, he is his own man,” said Green.

“But I will be turning up – assuming I am picked – and will prepare to play, as I do every time.”

Manchester City’s 22-year-old defender Nedum Onuoha is being tipped for his first call-up to the senior squad, after a host of appearances for the Under-21s.

England 4-0 Slovakia:

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney heads home his first goal
Wayne Rooney scored twice to share top billing with record breaker David Beckham as England convincingly swept Slovakia aside at Wembley today. Rooney capped an outstanding performance with his second-half brace, the first coming with a header from a Beckham cross, the perfect way for the veteran midfielder to celebrate his 109th cap.And, apart from a possible striker shortage, it was part of a fine day for Fabio Capello’s team, who really will be in the mood to party if they manage a repeat performance in Wednesday’s key World Cup qualifier with the Ukraine.
It is only relatively late in his career that Emile Heskey’s worth has truly been appreciated.Michael Owen was happy to extol the virtues of a former Liverpool team-mate given a large number of his 40 England goals were scored when the pair were in the same side.
Now it is Rooney’s turn to profit from Heskey’s selfless industry, the battering ram who blasts open doors for the craftsman. The priceless striker who does not score.
Prior to this evening, Heskey had found the net just five times in an international career boasting 51 caps, dating back to 1999.But as the debate, of which Fabio Capello played no part, about how to get the best from Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard raged on this week, Heskey’s presence to face Slovakia was always assured.
And his reward for the perseverance that now makes him such a pivotal figure in Capello’s blueprint for South Africa 2010 came after just eight minutes when Rooney slipped the first of a series of excellent passes to Gerrard.
Resplendent in a new white shirt, nicely designed but at odds with the mud-heap on which he must perform, the Liverpool skipper, roaming inside at will from his left-side station, evaded capture with a magnificent drag back before drilling a low cross to the near post.
Martin Skrtel appeared to have the situation under control. Heskey though had sneaked up on his blind side and prodded home his first England goal in almost six years.
Two minutes later it was Rooney delivering the killer ball, a cross right onto the unmarked Heskey’s head. To the Aston Villa forward’s total disbelief, a feeling shared by a large but not quite capacity crowd, the ball sailed over after he made contact from about four yards.It was one of those head-scratching moments Heskey has produced so many of down the years.
Nevertheless, it was sad that he lasted barely five more minutes before he was replaced by Carlton Cole, presumably to protect an Achilles injury he had aggravated.
That Cole lasted only 21 minutes on his second appearance and his replacement, Peter Crouch, limped off 17 minutes from the end, was tough luck on them both, raising the spectre of a call for Kevin Davies, Darren Bent or Andrew Johnson for Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier with the Ukraine, should respective groin and hip injuries fail to clear up.
But it was the half-time arrival of Beckham for his record 109th cap that really got the fans excited.
When Steve McClaren was dealing with the conundrum of pairing Gerrard with Frank Lampard in midfield, the feeling was always of a man trying to shoehorn his best players into one team without really knowing how it was going to work.
No such feeling exists about the man now in charge.As Rooney and Gerrard have already proved, they can easily interchange from starting positions that have the Manchester United man providing the closest support to a line leader and Gerrard, who cannot have the role he has done so well with for his club, driving at opposition defences from slightly wider or at an angle.
Had Heskey’s finishing, Aaron Lennon’s crossing or Frank Lampard’s set piece delivery been better, England would have been out of sight before Slovakia had their first decent shot.
As it was Miroslav Karhan and Robert Vittek both tested David James either side of an unconvincing double save from Stefan Senecky that denied first Lennon, then Gerrard.
Lennon did well enough on his first England appearance for two years but, like Shaun Wright-Phillips and, to an extent, Theo Walcott, his final ball remains patchy and cannot be relied upon.In contrast Beckham’s crosses and free-kicks remain top drawer.
Had an offside John Terry not finished off a Peter Crouch header that was going in anyway, Beckham would have supplied England’s second 10 minutes before it actually arrived through a header for Rooney.
England’s third arrived when Michael Carrick supplied the pass for Frank Lampard to finish.
And Rooney had the last word, with a delightful chip, to round off a very satisfying evening.

England Player Stats vs Slovakia..

INTL: Wayne Rooney, England - Slovakia (PA)
Wayne Rooney
England – Slovakia


David James (7): Was rarely tested but made two sharp saves when called upon. Replaced by Foster at half-time.

Glen Johnson (7.5): An impressive performer on the night, certainly doing well enough to make the right-back position his own. He was solid though not often tested in defence and made a number of good crosses and passes.

Matthew Upson (6): In what was a routine performance, there was one blip from the West Ham United man, standing in for Rio Ferdinand, when he let a ball run across him and almost gifted a goal to the visitors.

John Terry (5.5): Was guilty of ball-watching on a couple of occasions and also sold himself in a passage of play that almost looked like embarrassing England. Unwittingly and unfortunately ‘stole’ a goal from Peter Crouch, touching in his goal-bound header from an offside position

Ashley Cole (7.5): Gave no change to any challenger and was always a solid outlet down the left hand side.

Aaron Lennon (7): As is often the case, he always had the beating of his man, but unfortunately, a common weakness in his game – the lack of a good final ball – also plagued him.

Frank Lampard (7.5): Was tidy in possession but disappointing from set plays. Showed his goal-scoring prowess, netting his first for his country in almost two years with an incredibly composed finish. Did well out on the left to assist Rooney for the fourth at the death.

Gareth Barry (7.5): Distributed very well, made incisive forward runs, was full of energy and even played some great passes. He was perhaps, at times, guilty of roaming forward a little too often, as England were left without an anchor in midfield.

Steven Gerrard (8): Made good runs throughout the first half, playing in a free-role from the left-hand side. Linked up tremendously well with Rooney, became almost impossible for Slovakia to pick up and provided a good assist for the opener.

Emile Heskey (7): Looked eager, making good near-post runs, one of which forced the opener, which was attributed to him but may go down as an own goal. He sustained an injury in the process of stretching for the ball in that incident and was substituted early on.

Wayne Rooney (9): The star of the show, the Man of the Match. Showed just why he really is England’s future up front. His movement was brilliant, as were many of his passes and crosses. Missed a scrappy chance he would have been expected to score, but went on to head home England’s third and put a fourth high into the net, though he was slightly offside.


Carlton Cole (6): Didn’t play too much of a part when replacing Heskey, and lasted less than half an hour before he himself went off with a fairly innocuous injury.

Peter Crouch (7): Played a minor role as an outlet up front. Won a header that was goal-bound before an offside John Terry put it in the net. Ended up being the third striker to go off injured – and the second substitute.

Ben Foster (7): Very rarely even got a touch of the ball, but looked confident and in command of his area.

David Beckham (7.5): We got what we expected from the most capped outfield player in England’s history. Bundles of energy and excellent crosses that set up two goals – one comically offside, the other legitimate from Rooney – and his lack of pace didn’t stop him almost breaking beyond the defence to score, but for Rooney’s offside.

Stewart Downing (5): Showed endeavour and little more. Disappointing delivery – looked nervous.

Michael Carrick (7): Was a late substitute, but still, the man in top form for Manchester United managed to provide an assist for Lampard.

England player ratings Vs Spain

England player ratings v Spain

Spain 2-0 England
Spain vs England

England were outclassed by Spain in Seville last night. Here’s how Fabio Capello’s men rated:

David James

His handling looked shaky as he dropped a ball straight into Fernando Torres’s path. These moments of madness leave him vulnerable. 5/10

Glen Johnson

Looked good going down the wing as he is clearly growing up and learning not to dive into tackles and is becoming an established international full-back 7/10

Ashley Cole

The Chelsea defender achieved very little going forward, although was solid defensively. The Spanish kept him busy with their raids down the flanks 6/10

Michael Carrick
Did not give the ball away but did little with it going forward either. His passing was neat but Xabi Alonso and Marcos Senna are a class act to battle against. 6/10

Phil Jagielka

A promising start but gave the ball away too often and was turned inside out by David Villa for Spain’s first-half opener. Villa put him in his place. 5/10

John Terry
Held together the defence when under heavy pressure from Spain’s superb possession football. Good captain’s display but could do little to stop the onslaught.7/10

Shaun Wright-Phillips
Made one mazy run but was largely ineffective. There are still major question marks over the Manchester City livewire about his ability at the top level. 6/10

Gareth Barry
Superb range of passing and an early cross gave Gabby Agbonlahor a half chance. But up against Spain’s superb midfield, even the best would struggle. 7/10

Emile Heskey

Where on earth would England’s forward line be without Heskey? He held the ball up, looked dangerous and was a real handful. 7/10

Stewart Downing

Put over one decent corner but otherwise was disappointing. Gives you shape but showed little quality, invention or creativity against the Spanish.5/10

Gabriel Agbonlahor
These are early days for his international career, but fell well short against world class opposition. Missed good early half chance. 6/10

England substitutes
Robert Green (James 45) 6/10
David Beckham (Downing 45) 7/10
Peter Crouch (Heskey 45) 6/10
Matthew Upson (Jagielka 45) 5/10
Carlton Cole (Agbonlahor 75) 6/10
Frank Lampard (Barry 45) 6/10

One Response to “England – England under 21 Team News”

  1. […] player ratings and full match report see England vs slovakia […]

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