LONDON: Wayne Rooney brought down the curtain on his England career, but a youthful Three Lions proved the future is bright by sweeping aside the United States 3-0 at Wembley in a friendly on Thursday.
Jesse Lingard, Trent Alexander-Arnold and debutant Callum Wilson grabbed the goals in a dominant England display despite Gareth Southgate fielding a very inexperienced side.
“It’s my opinion that England are in very safe hands from what I’ve seen this week,” said Rooney, who came out of international retirement for his final farewell. “The way they are being coached is brilliant, it’s a great group of young players who have a bright future. They will go close to being the next team to bring a trophy back for England.”
The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Rooney’s introduction just before the hour mark to win his 120th cap.
England’s greatest ever goalscorer and former captain was also honoured before kick-off with a guard of honour and the presentation of a plaque bearing a golden Three Lions badge by current skipper Harry Kane.
Kane sat alongside Rooney on the bench for the first 45 minutes as Wilson was handed his chance to impress on his international debut.
The Bournemouth striker was in the heart of the action early on as he missed a glorious chance to open the scoring when he failed to connect with Lingard’s cross.
Wilson then had big claims for a penalty waived away when he went down as he tried to round Brad Guzan in the US goal.
Brighton defender Lewis Dunk was also making his England debut and despite being put under barely any pressure, a lack of concentration at the back nearly allowed the visitors to go in front.
As Dunk and Michael Keane appealed for offside, Christian Pulisic broke in behind the England defence and was only denied by a good save from Jordan Pickford.
England quickly put the game to bed with two goals in as many minutes as firstly Lingard received Dele Alli’s pass before curling high into the far corner.
Pulisic has seen his game time at Borussia Dortmund limited by the emergence of Jadon Sancho this season.
The 18-year-old was making his first England start and built on his fine Bundesliga form by teeing up Alexander-Arnold to drill his first international goal into the far corner.
As planned, Rooney got the chance to add to his 53 international goals and was handed the captain’s armband one last time when he entered on 58 minutes.
He didn’t get the fairytale ending despite the crowd imploring him to shoot at every opportunity.
However, Wilson did get his goal to cap a dream debut for the 26-year-old, who has battled through the lower leagues and two cruciate ligament injuries in both knees to make it to the international stage.
Recuperated Germany ease past Russia
A youthful Germany team easily beat Russia 3-0 Thursday as Joachim Loew began a rebuilding process following the summer’s World Cup debacle with a simple friendly win.
Manchester City winger Leroy Sane and Bayern Munich pair Niklas Suele and Serge Gnabry claimed the first-half goals in Leipzig for head coach Loew’s new-look Germany side.
“We can be pleased with that, we were in top form in the first half,” said goal-scorer Gnabry. “We were a bit too passive after the break, but we will take the win. It doesn’t matter how old this team is, look at someone like Kai (Havertz), he’s only 19, but played really well.”
This was Germany’s biggest victory and most convincing performance of 2018, a year which saw a record six defeats.
After so many lacklustre performances from the Germans in the last 12 months, Loew’s spritely side came through thanks to some high-tempo football.
However the victory is no more than a confidence booster for Monday’s crunch Nations League match at home to the Netherlands when Loew will recall his senior players.
The Germans, bottom of Group One in League A, are currently two points behind the Dutch, who play leaders France in Rotterdam on Friday.