Under-21s friendly: England 6-0 Scotland (R)

George Long at tonight's U21 international
George Long at tonight's U21 international

Six players got their names on the score-sheet tonight as England’s Under 21’s thrashed Scotland in a friendly at Bramall Lane.

In front of nearly 27,000 spectators, the young Lions produced a ruthless, dominant display which bodes well for the future.

Nathan Redmond, Raheem Sterling, Connor Wickham, Ross Barkley, Jonjo Shelvey and substitute Tom Carroll all registered as England ran Scotland ragged.

However, Sheffield United goalkeeper George Long will have to wait to make his international debut. The highly-rated shot-stopper was left on the substitutes bench by Roy Hodgson, who took charge of their clash against the Auld Enemy on a one-off basis as the Football Association search for Stuart Pearce’s replacement.

Hodgson preferred Jack Butland in between the sticks.

John Stones, formerly of Barnsley, was given the nod at right-back while Wickham, who enjoyed a successful loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday, spearheaded their attack.

It took England less than three minutes to open the scoring, with Redmond chesting Shelvey’s lovely long ball down before rifling in an unstoppable right foot shot.

The young Lions, who crashed out of the group stages of the European Championships this summer, looked more threatening in the final third and kept pushing for a second.

Just before the midway point of the first half, Sterling blazed wide from distance and Shelvey, moments later, had an effort deflected wide.

England should have doubled their advantage on the half hour mark when Will Hughes latched on to Sterling’s clever through ball but the highly-rated Derby County midfielder fired wide.

Although Scotland offered little as an attacking threat, Butland almost gifted them a way back into the contest after spilling a routine corner. The ball was recycled but Clark Robertson headed wide from close range.

England grabbed a deserved second in the 38th minute, with Sterling coolly firing home after good play involving Redmond and Wickham.

Nathaniel Chalobah was taken off on a stretcher and was replaced by former Owls loanee Ross Barkley.

A howler from Scotland goalkeeper Jordan Archer led to England’s third goal five minutes after the interval. He sliced his kick and Sunderland forward Wickham improvised well to loop his drive over him from 25 yards.

Moments later, Wickham fed Barkley, who jinked his way into the penalty area before hitting a fierce shot past Archer.

It got even worse for the visitors as Shelvey, arguably the most influential player on the pitch, curled in a delightful right foot shot into the top corner from distance.

England continued their remarkable goal-scoring spree just after the hour mark with substitute Tom Carroll getting in on the act after a mazy run from Redmond.

TEAMS

England: Butland; Stones, Wisdom, Keane, Robinson; Chalobah, Hughes; Sterling, Shelvey, Redmond; Wickham. Substitutes: T Kane, Johnstone, Garbutt, Dier, Thorpe, Barkley, Carroll, Ameobi, Lingard, Long, Bond, Berahino, H Kane.

Scotland: Archer, Jack; McKay, Robertson, McHattie; McGeouch, Fyvie, Bannigan, Watt; Armstrong, Feruz. Substitutes: Kettings, Duffie, Findlay, Holt, Macleod, Walker, May, Smith, Hamilton

More to follow

Background:

Bramall Lane welcomed back international football for the first time since 2008 tonight.

England Under 21s faced Scotland in a friendly overseen by England seniors’ manager Roy Hodgson.

The encounter at Sheffield United’s ground is the Young Lions’ first fixture since their dismal European Championship campaign in Israel in June, which saw them beaten in all three of their games without scoring a goal from open play.

With Under-21s boss Stuart Pearce having lost his job in the wake of that debacle and the post still being vacant, it was Hodgson who took charge of the Young Lions on a one-off basis in addition to his regular duties.

Players wore Kick It Out armbands before tonight’s game gets under way.

The match was dedicated to the late Laurie Cunningham, some of whose family will be in attendance.

Cunningham, Regis’ former West Brom team-mate, became the first black player to earn a cap at any level for England when he featured for the Under-21s against Scotland at Bramall Lane in 1977. The winger scored the only goal of the contest.