Football: Sinclair seals first win of new era

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England Under-21. . .1

Denmark Under-21. . .0

TREVOR SINCLAIR, an attacking midfielder with one of the new England manager's old clubs, Queen's Park Rangers, gave the Terry Venables' era a winning start before an appreciative crowd of 11,553 at Brentford's Griffin Park last night.

But England left it late before guaranteeing the watching Venables a scoreline he would settle for when his side tackle Denmark's seniors at Wembley tonight. Only eight minutes remained when the dreadlocked Sinclair broke the deadlock.

An injury to Nick Barmby, who fell heavily on his left knee after colliding with the Danish goalkeeper, took some of the gloss off the success. The Tottenham striker, who has already had a career's worth of misfortunes, was taken to hospital for X-rays which revealed only severe bruising. But he left hospital with the knee in plaster.

Barmby played a lively part in a controlled first half by Dave Sexton's team. Michael Stensgaard made a fine early save from Sinclair, while goal- line clearances denied Jamie Redknapp and Barmby's replacement, Julian Joachim.

Redknapp was again thwarted by Stensgaard's agility from a 72nd-minute free-kick, but there was no respite for the tiring Danish part-timers 10 minutes later. Chris Sutton flicked on a long free-kick to give Sinclair - one of Sexton's old boys at the FA National School - the chance to beat the keeper with a scorching drive from 12 yards.

Ray Wilkins, Sinclair's club colleague, claimed he had never seen him use his left foot, let alone score with it. Sexton said: 'It was a long time coming, but a good all-round display. Terry's an old friend, so I was conscious of the need to start his regime with a good show.'

ENGLAND UNDER-21 (4-4-2): Gerrard (Oldham); Watson (Newcastle), Nethercott, Campbell (both Tottenham), Edghill (Manchester City); Sinclair (QPR), Parlour (Arsenal), Redknapp (Liverpool), Bart-Williams (Sheffield Wednesday); Sutton (Norwich), Barmby (Tottenham). Substitutes: Joachim (Leicester) for Barmby, 36; Oakes (Aston Villa) for Gerrard, h/t.

DENMARK UNDER-21 (1-2-5-2): Stensgaard (Hvidovre); M Nielsen (AGF Aarhus); Rytter (Lyngby), P Nielsen (Brondby); Bisgaard (Odense), P Sorensen (Silkeborg), J Sorensen (AGF Aarhus), Bech (Fortuna Cologne), Duus Petersen (Silkeborg); Rasmussen (Brondby), Petersen (Odense). Substitutes: Nonbo (Naestved) for J Sorensen, h/t; Knudsen (Academisk) for Petersen, 59; Paulsen (Brondby) for Bech, 69.

Referee: R Jol (Netherlands).

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