Goals from the impressive Micah Richards and captain James Milner helped England claim a 2-1 victory over a Slovenia side reduced to 10 men in their Under-21 international friendly at the KC Stadium in Hull last night.
Stuart Pearce's side had trailed after Etien Velikonja had given Slovenia a surprise lead in the 11th minute before Richards equalised with a close-range finish in the 25th minute.
Milner put England ahead 10 minutes later with a low shot from the edge of the area, and the home side were able to cruise in the second half after the Slovenia forward Nejc Pecnik was sent off in the 63rd minute.
England enjoyed the majority of the possession in a relatively low-key start to the match but it was Slovenia who took the lead when the midfielder Uros Korun split the England defence with a neat through ball to release Velikonja. The winger raced through and calmly dispatched a low shot past Joe Lewis into the left-corner of the net from just inside the box.
England quickly responded when Tom Huddlestone delivered a lofted free-kick into the box in the 25th minute and Matjez Rozman flapped as Micah Richards challenged. The ball fell loose and the City defender was left with a simple tap into an empty net from six yards out.
Milner put England ahead in the 35th minute after neat build-up play down the right flank with Aaron Lennon. The Newcastle midfielder received the ball from Lennon with his back to goal on the edge of the area before he spun a low shot into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Lennon almost scored five minutes after half-time when he audaciously curled the ball over Rozman from the right edge of the area but the Slovenian goalkeeper was able to recover and palm the ball to safety.
England's task was made easier after Slovenia were reduced to 10 men when Pecnik was shown a second yellow card for dissent in the 63rd minute.
Michael Kightly struck the bar in the 86th minute with a brilliant strike as England cruised through to the final whistle.
England U21: Lewis (Peterborough), Mancienne (Chelsea), Richards (Manchester City), Onuoha (Manchester City), Andrew Taylor (Middlesbrough), Huddlestone (Tottenham), Noble (West Ham), Michael Johnson (Manchester City), Lennon (Tottenham), Derbyshire (Blackburn), Milner (Newcastle). Substitutes: Heaton (Cardiff City), Cranie (Portsmouth), Gardner (Aston Villa), Wheater (Middlesbrough), Adam Johnson (Middlesbrough), Muamba (Bolton), Kightly (Wolves), Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Campbell (Manchester United).
Slovenia U21: Rozman, Salkic, Apatic, Rok Elsner, Rajcevic, Korun, Cvijanovic, Viler, Pecnik, Matavz, Velikonja. Substitutes: Koprivec, Omladic, Mihelic, Mijatovic, Bacinovic, Bezjak, Plut.
Referee: A Toussaint (Luxembourg).