Belfast Telegraph

Sturridge cracker has England flying high

By Simon Peach

England 3 Peru 0: England departed for their summer mission with a win over Peru which looked far more convincing on paper than it did in actuality.

 

Daniel Sturridge curled home a stunning opener to put England ahead in their final game on home soil before the World Cup.

Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill then scored from two set-pieces after the break to give the result an encouraging appearance.

Yet it was clear from this performance there is still much work to be done if England are to hit the ground running – as they must – when they land in Brazil to take on Italy in their Group D opener.

Wayne Rooney and Sturridge failed to hit it off as had been hoped, while Jean Deza, a 20-year-old debutant, breached the England defence on several occasions.

Had it not been for the excellent Joe Hart and some last-ditch defending from Jagielka, Peru would have scored the goal their attacking display perhaps deserved.

England manager Roy Hodgson said preparations for the friendly could not have gone better, but the tactical work England put in this week in Burton barely paid off in the first half.

Danny Welbeck, a surprise starter ahead of Raheem Sterling, failed to create a spark out wide while Rooney went missing for most of the match.

At some points England fans found more entertainment in making paper planes and throwing them on the pitch.

However, England will take some positives to Miami, where they will play Ecuador and Honduras in their final two warm-up games next week. Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard performed solidly in midfield, as they did all last season for Liverpool.

Sturridge's fourth goal for England was a joy to behold, while Sterling and Jack Wilshere showed glimpses of skill after their introduction.

And, most importantly, there were no injuries.

England fans did their best to create a carnival atmosphere inside Wembley, but on the pitch there were little signs of flair from the hosts.

Peru had not played together for eight months, but in the opening 20 minutes they looked the more likely team to score.

Cahill held back Corinthians midfielder Luis Ramirez after he sneaked into the area and only a last-ditch tackle by Glen Johnson prevented Andre Carrillo from testing Hart deep inside the England box.

Deza was the next man to breach England's defence. The debutant sprinted past Jagielka into the home area, but Hart came to the rescue. And England's number one had to be at his best moments later when he acrobatically saved a Deza shot which looped up off Jagielka's outstretched leg.

Hodgson scratched his head, wondering what had happened to the team that had so impressed him in training over the past fortnight.

The atmosphere inside Wembley fell flat. The home crowd resorted to chucking paper aeroplanes on to the pitch for entertainment.

Sturridge offered the first glimmer of hope, blasting a low shot just wide of the far post following a run by Adam Lallana. The Liverpool striker, though, made no mistake with his second effort.

Sturridge picked up Johnson's quick throw, strode past his marker and clipped a curling left-foot shot over Raul Fernandez.

The goal brought Hodgson to his feet and Prince William, who had spoken to the team in the dressing room prior to kick-off, gave it a royal seal of approval.

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