sport

Easy for England as Ince stars

Thomas Ince was the star of the show as England Under 21s thrashed Sweden 4-0 at the Banks's Stadium on Tuesday.

The Blackpool winger scored two first-half goals with Jonjo Shelvey and Connor Wickham also finding the target in a comprehensive win for the home team on a poor pitch at Walsall.

England dominated the game from the outset against an under-strength Sweden side and there was little surprise when Ince opened the scoring inside 10 minutes.

Tottenham full-back Adam Smith, currently on loan at Millwall, got away down the right and Ince slid in to convert his low centre.

Minutes later Shelvey should have doubled the lead but shockingly missed the target with his close-range header after good work from Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson.

But Shelvey did not have to wait long to make amends as he sidefooted home from a similar position shortly afterwards when Smith's deflected cross found its way to the midfielder.

When Sweden did push up the field for a rare attack they were punished, with captain Henderson's long pass finding Ince who was promptly tripped by Filip Helander for a clear penalty.

Josh McEachran saw the resulting spot-kick saved by Andreas Linde but Ince - who else - was there to slot home the rebound for his second of the night.

England made four changes after the break and that impacted on the team's fluency but half-time introduction Connor Wickham almost set up Ince for his hat-trick on the hour mark.

The Sunderland striker made room for himself in the right channel and his cross found the advancing Ince but substitute keeper August Stromberg did brilliantly to deny the England man.

Wickham was keen to impress and he had a goal of his own with a quarter of an hour remaining, heading in well at the far post from fellow substitute Henri Lansbury's looped cross.

Sweden continued to compete without troubling Declan Rudd in the England goal and the team's seventh consecutive clean sheet capped a fine night for Stuart Pearce's men.