Spark of Sordell sends Iceland into total meltdown
England Under-21s 5 Iceland Under-21s 0
Friday 11 November 2011
Stuart Pearce's first match since being appointed Olympics football coach ended with victory for his England Under-21 team in Colchester last night.
He describes managing England's youngsters as his "day-to-day" job and there were no signs of the 47-year-old being distracted by the Games, which start in 259 days. Marvin Sordell, Martin Kelly, Craig Dawson and Gary Gardner scored as the Under-21s maintained their 100 per cent record in European Championship qualifiers. They have conceded just one goal in their four Group 8 wins and have scored 16.
It illustrates the English talent available to Pearce should other home nations refuse to release players for London 2012. "The players may not have that consciously on their mind," Pearce said. "It's in my mind to have one eye on possible individuals for the Olympics while I'm working with this team. They will do themselves no harm."
Pearce admitted the heavy scoreline flattered his team but he could reflect on positive performances from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson and his substitutes.
Sammy Ameobi was brought off the bench early on when Nathan Delfouneso picked up a hamstring injury. He caused problems for Iceland but England did not take the lead until six minutes before the break through Sordell's second goal at Under-21 level.
The Watford forward sent Henderson down the right with a weighted pass and was on the end of his captain's cross, stabbing his volley from the direction it came and into the corner of the net.
Kelly scored the second just before the hour mark when he carried the ball forward from central defence. The Liverpool youngster went through the challenge of Eidur Aron Sigurbjornsson and, despite the support of Sordell in an unmarked position, powerfully finished.
The third goal came four minutes from time when Dawson met a corner with a looping header, which dropped into the far corner. Gardner, another substitute, added gloss to the scoreline with a 25-yard free-kick for his first, and a drive from the edge of the area for his second.
"I was disappointed at half-time, we were playing within ourselves and did not take the game by the scruff of the neck. We were better in the second half. Overall it was a great result but 5-0 flattered us a bit," Pearce added.
England (4-3-3): Butland (Cheltenham Town); Smith (MK Dons), Kelly (Liverpool), Dawson (West Bromwich Albion), Clyne (Crystal Palace); Henderson (Liverpool), McEachran (Chelsea), Lowe (Blackburn Rovers); Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Sordell (Watford), Delfouneso (Aston Villa). Substitutes used Sammy Ameobi (Newcastle United) for Delfouneso, 11; Gardner (Aston Villa) for Lowe, 62; Keane (Manchester United) for McEachran, 78.
Referee P Radovanovic (Montenegro).
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