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 He was withdrawn just after substitute Jack Robinson volleyed home a pinpoint cross from Jonjo Shelvey but there was plenty to remind Liverpool what they have been missing.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).

Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
News
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing