WEMBLEY: England’s experimental juniors had too much fire power for Wales, winning 3-0 in a Wembley friendly with a senior international debut goal for Everton’s in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Both teams had more than one eye on their upcoming respective Nations League fixtures.
Bukayo Saka also made his senior debut as Calvert-Lewin was named in attack, heading the Three Lions ahead before Conor Coady and Danny Ings added their first England goals to secure a 3-0 win.
Jack Grealish shone on his first start, building on his fine display in Aston Villa’s thrashing of Liverpool at the weekend to stake his claim for a permanent place in the side.
This was England’s most inexperienced starting line-up in 40 years and had a combined 54 caps, one fewer than Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson, who was among the substitutes.
In fact, the Three Lions side named by Gareth Southgate had more combined appearances in the EFL than they have in the Premier League.
Originally pencilled in as a fixture which would usher in a number of supporters before the Government’s Covid rules changed, this was England’s first home game in 11 months.
Belgium, the number one ranked team in the world travel to Wembley on Sunday afternoon for a Nations League game which will see Southgate recall the likes of Harry Kane and Harry Maguire.
Wales boss Ryan Giggs – who played for England at schoolboy level – also rested key men as he continues to put his faith in the young talent being produced.
He had an opportunity early on as his sharpness saw him sweep past Wayne Hennessey in the Wales goal only to be thwarted by the acute angle.
There would be no mistake on 26 minutes, though, as he rose to steer home Jack Grealish’s cross and open his international account.
With such an experimental England side – the starting line-up had just 54 caps between them – it was difficult for the players to click in the early stages.
But Calvert-Lewin led the line well before he was replaced just before the hour mark.
While England will face tougher tasks, and so will Calvert-Lewin if he is to add to his caps, he will be pleased with his first outing.
Despite his goal feats at Everton, in all reality Calvert-Lewin will be playing second fiddle to England skipper Harry Kane in the coming months and years.
It is the same fate for any English forward – Jamie Vardy and Danny Ings have been scoring Premier League goals for fun, but the former stepped down after being forced to play out wide while Ings is another who will be fighting to take his chances when they arrive.
But Calvert-Lewin could do little more than find the back of the net to show Gareth Southgate what he can do and stake his claim for a place in the team.