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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Mar 25, 2011

Young Lions maul Denmark in Viborg

England rediscovered their ruthless streak to end their three-match winless run by thumping UEFA Under-21 Championship hosts Denmark in Viborg.

Danny Welbeck, Scott Sinclair, the outstanding Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson all found the net as Stuart Pearce's youngsters sent out an ominous warning to their European rivals ahead of this summer's finals.

England pounced on defensive mistakes made by the Danes, who failed to punish a string of those from their opponents, although Nicolai Jorgensen wrongly had a goal chalked off for offside.

Having not scored in a draw and two defeats in their previous three matches, the visitors initially struggled to impose themselves on the hosts, whose pressing game forced a succession of defensive errors.

England's cause was not helped when, for the second match in succession, Pearce was forced into an early change, injury-plagued captain Micah Richards carried off on a stretcher after pulling up inside three minutes with what appeared a hamstring problem.

James Tomkins came on and was immediately on the back foot as Mike Jensen pounced on a Ryan Bertrand mistake, burst forward and shot straight at full debutant Alex McCarthy.

Nicki Bille Nielsen also blazed over from a tight angle, while Denmark sent more than one 20-yard shot straight at Reading goalkeeper McCarthy.

England, who had never lost to the Danes, enjoyed a 15-minute purple patch, Sturridge firing narrowly wide from the edge of the box following a 25-yard run.

They took the lead in the 23rd minute when Michael Lumb, under no pressure underneath Tomkins' wayward long ball, managed to head it straight to Welbeck.

Sunderland's on-loan Manchester United striker still had plenty to do 25 yards out but did it superbly, taking a touch before rifling left-footed into the top corner.

Kyle Naughton came to England's rescue five minutes later, blocking and clearing off his own line after Anders Christiansen played a one-two with Nielsen and rounded McCarthy.

Denmark turned the screw and England were clinging on as the half drew to a close, with Tom Cleverley booked for deliberate handball.

Lumb thought he had atoned for his error two minutes after the break when his sliderule pass found Jorgensen, who cut inside and fired into the bottom corner. Despite being clearly onside, the latest of flags went up as the winger unleashed his shot.

Denmark shot themselves in the foot again in the 58th minute when Sturridge's 30-yard curler was parried by Jonas Lossl straight to Swansea striker Sinclair, who tapped home his first goal at this level.

The Danes were demoralised and Bolton's on-loan Chelsea forward Sturridge got the goal his performance deserved four minutes later when he bamboozled Erik Sviatchenko before sliding the ball past Lossl from 10 yards. With the game won, Sinclair and Welbeck were withdrawn for Danny Rose and Josh McEachran.

Ryan Bertrand was booked for time-wasting before Henderson took advantage of more appalling defending to outmuscle Andreas Bjelland and slot in England's fourth.

Denmark made changes and McCarthy saved at the feet of the luckless Jorgensen.

Sturridge also chipped into the arms of Lossl before Pearce introduced four late substitutes with Monday night's friendly against Iceland in mind. One of them, Nathan Delfouneso, missed a gilt-edged chance to make it 5-0 in stoppage-time, sidefooting straight at Lossl from four yards.

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