JAMIE CARRAGHER scored his first Under-21 goal to help England make a winning start to their European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign yesterday. The Liverpool youngster hit the target after only eight minutes of his 12th international to set Peter Taylor's side on their way to three points.
Carragher has made a successful switch from midfield into a defensive role for Liverpool this season, but against Sweden he was back in the centre of the pitch, where he has made the majority of his under-21 appearances.
Frank Lampard's corner was misjudged by Eddie Gustafsson, the Swedish goalkeeper, and Carragher was on hand to volley home with his right foot from close range.
Lampard made sure of the points four minutes from time from the penalty spot after Lee Hendrie had been brought down by Jonas Wallerstedt.
England were good value for their victory even if clear-cut chances were at a premium, and Crystal Palace's Matt Jansen, who has been linked with several Premiership clubs, impressed in attack.
Wesley Brown, the Manchester United central defender, gave an assured display on his debut and has the promise to become another success story from the Old Trafford youth ranks. Hendrie also caught the eye in midfield in his full debut after two substitute appearances last season.
England opened promisingly and Carragher could have had a second goal when he headed wide from close range.
Sweden seldom threatened as an attacking force in the first half, but in the 32nd minute Richard Wright, the Ipswich goalkeeper, pulled off a fine save to keep out a powerful downward header from Christian Lundstrom.
The second half saw little threatening action in either penalty area, although Heskey should have done better when he sent a glancing header wide from a cross by Jansen.
Wright almost gifted Sweden an equaliser when his attempt at a clearance was charged down but the ball ricocheted to safety.
In the 86th minute Lampard drilled home the clinching penalty, although Gustafsson got a hand to his low shot.
Sweden Under-21: Gustafsson; C Andersson, Mellberg, Persson, Edman, Wallerstedt, Linderovdt, M Andersson, Karlsson, Lundstrom, Osmanovski. Substitutes: Jankulovski, Arvhagd, Bergman, Kronball, Bjurstrom, Fredholm, Ostland.
ENGLAND UNDER-21: Wright (Ipswich); Dyer (Ipswich), Ball (Everton), Brown (Manchester Utd), Mills (Charlton), Upson (Arsenal), Lampard (West Ham), Carragher (Liverpool), Heskey (Leicester), Jansen (Crystal Palace), Hendrie (Aston Villa). Substitutes: Curtis (Manchester Utd), Simonsen (Tranmere), Rogers (Nottingham Forest), Morris (Chelsea), Euell (Wimbledon).
Referee: H Fandel (Germany).Reuse content