Roy Hodgson demonstrated there is no room for sentiment in international football by refusing to summon Sheffield United’s George Long from the bench.
The England manager, taking charge of the under-21’s on a temporary basis until Stuart Pearce’s successor is unveiled, has clearly instilled a
similarly ruthless streak in his players given the venom they displayed towards their Scottish counterparts at Bramall Lane last night.
“It was an exemplary performance which I think has put to bed the myth that we have no talented players coming through,” Hodgson said. “I thought the desire and the determination of everyone was superb. I’ve heard lots of statements about our next generation. I think they’ve delivered a message just there.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, many of those would not look out of place in the full side.”
Claiming Long’s presence in his squad should serve as an inspiration for others plying their trade in the lower leagues, Hodgson added: “I am sure, whoever the next under-21 coach is, will be following George’s progress very closely.
“Although I’ve focused more on the outfield players, from the conversations I’ve had with him he seems a very nice chap and has acquitted himself well in training.
“Unfortunately, we only had the luxury of seven substitutes otherwise we may well have used a few more.”
Nathan Redmond, the Norwich City winger, barely broke sweat before staking his claim with a clinical finish following Jonjo Shelvey’s long defence splitting pass.
Raheem Sterling also caught the eye with a series of mazy runs which tested both the patience and dexterity of poor Ryan Jack before doubling England’s advantage towards the end of the first-half.
Scotland spent most of the evening firmly on the back foot with only Chelsea’s Islam Feruz posing any real threat to the host’s rearguard. Jordan Archer gifted England a third when he sliced the ball straight at Connor Wickham before Ross Barkley, another former Sheffield Wednesday loanee, engineered the fourth.
As Scotland unravelled, Shelvey increased the agony on Billy Stark’s side with a sumptuous long-range drive while Tom Carroll also got in on the act moments after entering the fray.
“I’d like to congratulate Sheffield United and the FA about their staging of this game” Hodgson said.
“To get a crowd of this size and magnitude here for an under-21 fixture is remarkable.
“There are going to be many full international teams playing this week and I’ll wager that many of them will not enjoy the same sort of support.”
England: Butland, Stones, Robinson, Chalobah (Barkley 44), Wisdom (Thorpe 72), Keane, Sterling (Ameobi 65), Hughes (Dier 72), Wickham (H Kane 59), Shelvey (Carroll 59), Redmond (Lingard 65). Not used: T Kane, Johnstone, Garbutt, Long, Bond, Berahino.
Scotland: Archer, Jack (Duffie 46), McKay, Robertson, McHattie, Fyvie, McGeouch, Bannigan (MacLeod 79), Feruz (May 62), Armstrong
(Smith 62), Watt (Holt 72). Not used: Kettings,Findlay, Walker, Hamilton.
Goals: Redmond (3), Sterling (38), Wickham (50), Barkley (55), Shelvey (57), Carroll (61)