England U21s hold on for draw in Holland while U20s thrash Montenegro

England U21s hold on for draw in Holland while U20s thrash Montenegro

Two very different performances and results from the England set up yesterday as Stuart Pearce’s team cruised to a bore draw in Groningen in stark contrast to Eastick’s U20 team who warmed up for the World Cup in style by beating Montenegro in a convincing display.

Holland U21 0 – 0 England U21

In a very poor display of football England started their new season by salvaging a draw in a toothless game lacking excitement or cutting edge. England lined up with a negative 4-5-1 formation with James Vaughan isolated up front as the lone target man and it never looked like it would pay off as the more attacking Holland side dominated possession without ever really troubling Scott Loach in the 1st half.

The way Pearce sets up his side tries to mimick the way that the England first team do but fails to do so as all the creativity that the England team has with the likes of Gerrard, Lampard and Barry the England U21 replaces with workman-like and solid players such as Rose, Rodwell and Cattermole who are good without the ball but often disappoint with it. Not only that, rather than play a proper second striker as Capello does with Rooney, the U21s chose to use Delph, a very talented player in his own right, but very much a central midfielder who never looked like someone who was operating in the hole.

The best threat England could come up with throughout the whole game was a storming Micah Richards run and one-two that left the Man City player with a clear view of goal on the edge of the area but his shot was one fitting of a right back and never looked like it would beat Tim Krul.

Their Dutch counterparts were also lacking clear cut chances despite their better possession and were limited to long range strikes at goal, the pick of which was Barazite’s curling effort that whistled past the post in a very poor half from the Arsenal youngster.

Nacer Barazite did start to have a growing influence in the 2nd half though as he started to drift from the target man role he had began the game with. First he set up Emnes for a clear chance that was squandered amid penalty shouts, before seeing a few good efforts test Fielding later in the half. The closest the Dutch came though was through substitute Vurnon Anita whose strike came back off the crossbar as time ran out for both sides to liven up this bore draw.

Jack Wilshere saw his first minutes in an U21 England shirt but saw his debut disrupted by constant substitutions and changes in the position he was expected to play, being forced into three different roles in the half an hour he was on the field of play. I have a feeling that he will be hoping to make the step up to the full England team sooner rather than later as I can’t see Pearce’s brand of football suiting him.

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England U20 5 – 0 Montenegro U20

An entirely different story in the Midlands last night as England finished up comfortable winners over Montenegro in their final warm up game ahead of the U20 World Cup in Egypt next month.

England had already gone close twice and failed to convert a penalty when Manchester United player Febian Brandy finished off a chance created by Vidal to give the England sie the lead. Brandy wasn’t finished there either as he bettered that goal with a stunning volley just before half time to give England a comfortable lead at the break.

It took three minutes to open their account for the 2nd half with another Man Utd prospect Tom Cleverley getting on the scoresheet this time as he found the bottom corner with a low strike. It took over half an hour to further increase the lead with England goalkeeper Rudd having to make a couple of stops himself to ensure the Montenegrins didn’t find a way back into the game.

But with 8 minutes left Tom Cleverley put the game even further beyond the reach of their opponents with a fine goal before Bolton Wanderers forward Tope Obadeyi added to the scoreline in the last minute of the game. Overall a decent workout for Eastick’s team ahead of the real challenge in Egypt.

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