Sheffield United: Jags on target as England cruise

Phil Jagielka, the former Sheffield United defender, scores for England against San Marino last night
Phil Jagielka, the former Sheffield United defender, scores for England against San Marino last night

Andros Townsend does not believe England should beat themselves up after only defeating minnows San Marino 5-0 at Wembley last night.

England barely broke a sweat against the world’s worst national team with former Sheffield United defender Phil Jagielka, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Townsend all hitting the target while Alessandro Della Valle turned the ball into his own net.

James Milner in action for England last night

James Milner in action for England last night

Asked if Roy Hodgson’s side should have won their 2016 European Championship qualifier by an even greater margin, Townsend said: “The main thing was that we got the three points.

“We’re hoping not to win the group on goal difference, we’re hoping to win it by two or three points, so two, three, four or five doesn’t really matter that much.

“The manager has always shown faith in me and although it was only against San Marino it was nice to come on and get my goal and repay the manager’s faith.”

Rooney edged closer to Sir Bobby Charlton’s scoring record as England coasted home against the visitors from southern Europe but it was Jagielka, now of Everton, who broke the deadlock with his third international effort.

England were sloppy and slow in attack before the interval but Rooney managed to find the net with a well-taken penalty during the closing stages of the first-half. The strike moved their captain, who had been fouled by Andy Selva, to within seven of Charlton’s milestone.

Welbeck and Townsend both pounced in the second half before Della Valle diverted Rooney’s centre beyond Aldo Simoncini.

He had earlier tripped over colleague Luca Tosic’s foot as he attempted to claim James Milner’s hanging cross which presented Jagielka, who made 287 appearances for United after progressing through their youth system, with a simple finish.

Hodgson introduced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana for the start of the second period. The move paid off immediately as Oxlade-Chamberlain charged Mirko Palazzi’s clearance down and drove in a low cross which Welbeck turned home.

Lallana thought he had opened his England account after inadvertently diverting Oxlade-Chamberlain’s shot past Simoncini but was incorrectly adjudged to be offside. Townsend converted from around 20 yards as Hodgson’s players underlined their dominance before Della Valle’s mistake.

Jack Wilshere, who was named man of the match, said: “We have done what we had to do. We knew we were going into a game that we were going to win. It was just a matter of keeping our concentration.

“We looked really professional, we showed them enough respect and kept going.”