England U21 4 Sweden U21 0: Ince scores twice as young guns shine in Walsall
– is an ideal
way to start the calendar year for coach Stuart Pearce, who will be
gunning for success at June's Euro 2013 finals in Israel, with talks
over his own future put on hold until after the tournament.
Injuries robbed Pearce of Raheem
Sterling, Phil Jones and Luke Shaw but it was still a strong line-up
which took to the field, skippered by Henderson – on Sunday voted Under
21s Player of the Year.
Liverpool team-mate Shelvey blazed
over a good chance early on after a lively burst from Ince before
Henderson himself planted a free header wide.
Double: Jonjo Shelvey scored England's second goal in the 30th minute
Relieved: Shelvey missed a header from two yards out just before scoring
It was no surprise when a dominant England opened the scoring after 10 minutes.
Shelvey found marauding right-back
Smith with a delightful ball and he in turn sent a teasing low cross
into the box which was slotted home by Ince.
England were in complete control and
it should have been 2-0 after 18 minutes as the impressive Shelvey
somehow headed wide Henderson's cross with the goal at his mercy.
Cruising: Shelvey celebrates his goal with Josh McEachran
But Shelvey soon made amends as he
doubled the hosts' advantage, slotting home Ince's miscued shot off the
underside off the crossbar at the far post after Smith had again been
found in space down the right.
It was 3-0 just before half-time as
Sweden centre-back Filip Helander brought down Ince in the area, Josh
McEachran saw his penalty saved by keeper Andreas Linde but Ince swept
home the rebound.
With his side already in the driving seat at the break, Pearce introduced Wickham, Will Hughes and Henri Lansbury.
Rebound: McEachran had a first-half penalty saved before Ince followed up to score
Ince was denied his hat-trick on the hour mark following a great save from close range by replacement stopper August Stromberg.
Goalscoring opportunities dried up
after the break as both managers made a host of changes although the
Young Lions remained comfortable, with goalkeeper Jason Steele still to
make a meaningful save of note.
But the home side did register a fourth in the 77th minute, Wickham heading home Lansbury's deep cross.
Wickham was denied a fifth by Stromberg but England still ran out easy winners in front of a healthy sell-out crowd of 9,758.
Rout: Connor Wickham rises to head in England's fourth goal
Impressive: Stuart Pearce's side were dominant
Spurned: Derby's Will Hughes rues a missed chance