England U21s earn European Championship warm-up victory

Daniel Sturridge celebrates his opener
England celebrate Sturridge's opening goal at the home of Southampton

England warmed up for the European Under-21 Championship with a 2-0 victory over Norway at St Mary's.

A strong England side, playing their last pre-tournament friendly, went ahead early on when Daniel Sturridge converted Ryan Bertrand's cross.

They doubled their lead thanks to a fine solo goal from Danny Rose, the midfielder cutting in from the left and curling the ball into the top corner.

Manager Stuart Pearce made changes at the break but England eased home.

The match at Southampton's ground proved to be perfect preparation for the start of the European Championship in Denmark which starts on Saturday.

England face Spain at 1945 BST on Sunday 12 June in their opening Group B contest, before games against Ukraine on Wednesday 15 June and the Czech Republic four days later.

Having suffered the withdrawal of Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere and injuries to Andy Carroll and Micah Richards, the focus returned to events on the pitch in the Norway game.

And England, with Jordan Henderson impressing and keeper Frankie Fielding making some fine saves, looked the part - albeit against a team that got nowhere near qualifying for the tournament.

England reached the final two years ago, when they lost 4-0 against a Mesut Ozil-inspired Germany in Malmo.

England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce: "If I wound the clock back a week, let's say, and I was offered the week on the training pitch that the players have given me, a 2-0 victory, no injuries, I'd snap your hand off.

"The last friendly before a major tournament, it is on the players' minds, whether I like it or not and I don't think we've done historically fantastically well in friendly matches.

"We look fresh, I think mentally fresh, and if you're mentally fresh, you'll convince your body to do anything.

"That won't be a problem for us and that'll never be an excuse that I'll ever use as manager."

England U21: Fielding, Mancienne, Jones (Tomkins 83), Smalling, Bertrand (Gibbs 46), Henderson (Lansbury 46), Muamba (Cork 46), Rodwell, Rose (Albrighton 46), Welbeck (Cleverley 46), Sturridge (Delfouneso 65). Subs Not Used: Steele, Wickham.

Goals: Sturridge 9, Rose 40.

Norway U21: Ostbo, Hedenstad, Wangberg, Rogne, Strandberg, Singh, Ibrahim, Johansen (Ringstad 70), Berisha (Tveter 73); Stokkelien, Kastrati (Backenga 86). Subs Not Used: Nyland, Myklebust, Linnes, Drage.

Att: 17,996.

Ref: Clement Turpin (Bourgogne)

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