England 3 Romania 0 match report: Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha run the show for Stuart Pearce's in-form Under-21 side

 

Adams Park

If this was a glimpse of the future for English football, then Stuart Pearce should have a summer to savour.

Watched by senior coach Gary Neville, a clinical victory inspired by Wilfried Zaha and Raheem Sterling against a young Romania side in Wycombe confirmed there is every chance Pearce's fourth attempt to win the European Championships could end in glory in Israel.

Whatever happens, the latest batch of emerging players will give future England managers plenty to work with – even if things go wrong for Roy Hodgson over the next few months.

"Some of the football was outstanding," said assistant manager Brian Eastwick. "Stuart has had the opportunity to look at some new players but he is pretty sure of 16 or 17 of the players who will go to Israel. We've had a very good run so the important thing is to keep that going because it creates confidence going into a big tournament."

After winning their last seven matches without conceding a single goal, Pearce took the opportunity to name a strong side packed with experience at this level.

After Henri Lansbury hobbled off following a collision with Romania keeper Laurent Branescu inside the opening two minutes, replacement Nathan Delfouneso added yet more zip to a lightning-quick front three, with Crystal Palace winger Zaha asked to play an unfamiliar central role while Sterling was on the left.

England should have gone ahead when Zaha picked out Sterling unmarked but his shot was straight at Branescu. Sterling looked back to his best on the left flank and almost capped a sensational solo, only for his shot to whistle over the bar. Eleven minutes before half-time, the breakthrough finally came as Zaha once again exchanged passes with Sterling, beat two players and curled his shot into the net.

The Sterling show continued after the break as a dipping shot from just outside the box just missing the target. He was withdrawn just after substitute Jack Robinson volleyed home a pinpoint cross from Jonjo Shelvey but there was plenty to remind Liverpool what they have been missing.

Delfouneso added a third in the penultimate minute following another assist from Shelvey, although Pearce will know much stiffer tests lie ahead.

England U21 Butland (Steele 87), Clyne (Smith 74),Wisdom, Dawson, Rose (Robinson 46), Sterling (Sordell 64), Chalobah (Carroll 74), Shelvey, Henderson (Lowe 75), Lansbury (Delfouneso 7), Zaha (Wickham 88).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot