England 3, Romania 0: Sterling and Henderson Impress in U21 Victory

Warren Little

Liverpool's quintet all had a hand in England's convincing victory over Romania with Stuart Pearce's side looking strong ahead of the summer's U21 European Championships.

England 3 Zaha 34', Robinson 62', Delfouneso 88'
Romania 0

Jordan Henderson captained an England U21 side heavy on Liverpool youngsters as Jonjo Shlevey and Raheem Sterling started the night in attack while Andre Wisdom slotted into the backline. Jack Robinson, currently on loan at Wolves, was on the bench to start but got the chance to join his Liverpool teammates in the second half when he came on for the impressive Danny Rose.

It was a chance for Henderson to once again take on a leadership role as the deepest man in midfield for a Stuart Pearce side that has consistently played an appealing and effective brand of attacking football over the past year. With his minutes more limited at Liverpool in the new year, it was also a chance for Raheem Sterling to get a slightly better workout than weekly outings with the club's U21 side.

Both players impressed throughout in a match that England dominated for long stretches, though the first good chance of the game went to Romania when, just five minutes into the match, Henri Lansbury picked up a knock. With England down a man and waiting to make a substitution, Romania earned a corner that ended in a chance Andre Wisdom blocked off the line—with more than a hint of handball.

Soon, though, England began to dominate, and their first good chance came twelve minutes in when Sterling linked with Danny Rose and Henderson as he drove off the left, but his ambitious effort only found side netting. England kept the pressure on almost continuously from then on and were unlucky not to score until the 34th minute, when Wilfried Zaha skipped inside and beat the 'keeper to give the hosts a deserved lead.

Robinson's arrival in the second half meant fully half England's outfield players were Liverpool's, and rather predictably it led to stretches where Henderson, Shelvey, Sterling, and Robinson passed the ball amongst themselves on the left. Then, 62 minutes in, the Liverpool connection paid off when Shelvey spotted Robinson's back-post run and floated a cross for the left back to slot home. As the match wound down, Nathan Delfouneso added a third to put some gloss on the scoreline and cap off a dominating night.

And in the end, it was a very good night for Liverpool's players, with Henderson and Sterling in particular putting in strong shifts while Shelvey and Robinson both had moments of brilliance and Wisdom was solid in a backline that had little to do. Outside of the Liverpool quintet, Danny Rose may have been England's best in the first half and Wilfried Zaha scored amongst equal moments of solid play and frustrating, indecisive selfishness.

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