Pearce surprised by quality of England U21 rout of Sweden

England U21 coach Stuart Pearce was delighted with their 4-0 rout of Sweden.

Blackpool forward Tom Ince, the subject of a host of January transfer speculation, capped a man of the match display with a brace either side of setting up Jonjo Shelvey's tap-in as the Young Lions took complete control before half-time at a wet Banks's Stadium in Walsall.

Substitute Connor Wickham headed a fourth after the break in what was a disjointed second period following a raft of substitutions - with England racking up a seventh successive win, each without conceding a single goal following a superb 2012.

It is an ideal way to start the year ahead of June's Euro 2013 finals in Israel.

Pearce said: "It's arguably as well as we've played, certainly the first half when we really took the game by the scruff of the neck.

"I just wish we were meeting up again tomorrow to prepare for another game. It's a great achievement, seven clean sheets on the trot, and that's credit to the lads.

"It couldn't have been a better way to get our preparations underway. It was beyond my expectations how well they gelled with each other.

"They passed the ball fantastically well, they had a real enthusiasm to stop the opposition getting efforts at our goal. Winning the game 4-0 was a real bonus.

"I think right across the squad, the way they've come together straight away for this new calendar year has been outstanding for us.

"It's our first stepping stone on building for the tournament in the summer."

Have your say

Related Images