Nine-goal Under-21s answer coach Southgate’s call

England's Danny Ings (on floor) celebrates scoring the sixth goal with Carl Jenkinson during the UEFA European U21 Championship Qualyfying match at the Greenhous Meadown, Shrewsbury.
England's Danny Ings (on floor) celebrates scoring the sixth goal with Carl Jenkinson during the UEFA European U21 Championship Qualyfying match at the Greenhous Meadown, Shrewsbury.
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England Under-21s clocked up a record-breaking 9-0 win against San Marino as they impressively answered Gareth Southgate’s calls to show more ruthlessness in front of goal.

Fans flocked to a sold-out Greenhous Meadow hoping for goals and the Young Lions did not disappoint, racking up a win that usurps their previous best of a seven-goal margin of victory set in 1976 and 2009.

It was the perfect end to a tumultuous year and just what manager Southgate had called for in the build-up to the European Championship qualifier.

While keen for the team to play with freedom, the former England defender was frustrated by some of his players’ preference for the over-elaborate in Thursday’s 3-0 win against Finland.

Southgate called for a more clinical edge in England’s last match of 2013 and got just that in Shrewsbury, despite the absence of in-form Saido Berahino through suspension.

Michael Keane nodded England ahead after 13 minutes, with Raheem Sterling and full debutant Danny Ings extending that lead soon after.

James Ward-Prowse curled home a fine free-kick in the 24th minute as England’s dominance continued, with Thomas Ince extending the lead further half-time approached.

Ings just beat room-mate Carl Jenkinson to prod home England’s sixth shortly after the restart, although the Arsenal right-back managed a goal of his own after Sterling smartly lifted the ball over San Marino’s hapless goalkeeper.

Will Hughes showed great feet before slotting home to put England 9-0 up, wrapping up an impressive victory that keeps them in control of Group 1.

Last month San Marino restricted England to a 4-0 win with a defence-minded formation, which was easily overcome in Shrewsbury.