Eriksson rewarded by trip to Boro

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The Independent Online

Middlesbrough's England hopefuls gave the national coach Sven Goran Eriksson something to think about with some fine performances in a comfortable 3-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao yesterday.

Eriksson headed to Teesside for Curtis Fleming's testimonial to see Steve McClaren's £6.5m signing Gareth Southgate make his home debut ahead of this month's England friendly with the Netherlands. And he was not to be disappointed as the 30-year-old defender quickly re-established a partnership with Ugo Ehiogu.

The Boro captain Paul Ince has admitted his international days are probably over, but the Swede must have been impressed with his driving display from central midfield. However, it was the Cameroon international Joseph Desiré Job who stole the show with some sublime touches as he linked with Alen Boksic. Job set the ball rolling with a neatly-taken opener and victory was confirmed before half-time by goals from Boksic and Noel Whelan.

The Scunthorpe United manager Brian Laws was delighted with his side's display as they held a young and experimental Leeds United side to a goalless draw at Glanford Park yesterday. His Leeds counterpart David O'Leary included only Jonathan Woodgate, Michael Duberry and captain-for-the-day Alan Maybury as recognised first-teamers.

"This was a terrific work-out against some experienced players," said Law. "The standard of football was excellent. We did all the things I expected us to do and we gave Duberry and Woodgate a good work-out."

Emmanuel Petit could not hide his delight after getting back to English football for Chelsea on Saturday. Back in London after his £5.5m summer move to Stamford Bridge, the midfielder played for just over an hour on his Blues debut in the 2-1 win at Burnley.

"After spending one year in Spain I was so happy to come back to England, especially with Chelsea," said Petit. "I'm going to give everything I can for them. The club has put the level of ambitions so high and for me that is fine."

Manchester United's £28.1m signing Juan Sebastian Veron sent a warning to the Premiership with a brilliant performance in United's 2-2 draw at Wrexham. The Argentinian midfielder curled home a 25-yard free-kick and set up Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for United's opening goal.

Another United team took part in a friendly at Hereford United, winning 6-0 with the goals coming from Quinton Fortune and Andy Cole, who both scored two apiece, and Nicky Butt and Dwight Yorke.

The Ipswich manager George Burley saw his team lose 2-0 at home to PSV Eindhoven but expects the Nigerian international Finidi George to complete his transfer to Portman Road this week.

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