Derby County midfielder Will Hughes comes on as a substitute for England Under-21 as they defeat Sweden
WILL Hughes won his second cap for England Under-21s last night and helped Stuart Pearce's side to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Sweden.
The Derby County midfielder played the second half of the friendly international at Walsall's Banks's Stadium.
He replaced Liverpool's Jordan Henderson and slotted into a central midfield role.
The 17-year-old made his debut at this level as a substitute against Northern Ireland in November. In doing so, he became the second youngest player to represent England Under-21 after Theo Walcott.
A group of about 30 scholars and young players from Derby's Academy, as well as Academy manager Darren Wassall and members of the coaching staff, were at the game to support Hughes.
England started with a 4-2-3-1 formation in which Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey was in the middle of the trio behind Wilfried Zaha, Manchester United's new signing who is back on loan at Crystal Palace.
The pace and movement of England's front four stretched Sweden from early on and they took the lead after 10 minutes.
Shelvey picked out Adam Smith and the right-back's low centre found Tom Ince, who slid in to turn the ball wide of Andreas Linde from six yards.
Smith, the Tottenham Hotspur player on loan at Millwall, is eager to get forward at every opportunity and he added to Sweden's problems.
Rain made for a sticky playing surface but Smith continued to raid down the right. He slipped a pass into Henderson, whose cross landed on the head of the unmarked Shelvey, who, two yards out, somehow headed wide.
Zaha created himself a chance with a neat turn on the edge of the box and his shot was kept out by Linde.
Smith continued to impress and he set up England's second goal on the half-hour.
Seeing Ince in possession, Smith timed his overlap to perfection and his centre found its way to Shelvey, who this time made no mistake. His close-range finish found the net off the underside of the bar.
England were stronger and quicker than their Swedish opponents, who had a torrid first half in which they failed to test Jason Steele.
His opposite number, Linde, was kept busy but he was beaten again three minutes before the break to confirm England's dominance.
Henderson's fine long ball found Ince's run in behind Sweden's defence. Ince's first touch was good and took him across trailing defender Filip Helander, who conceded a penalty when he tripped the Blackpool player.
Josh McEachran's tame spot kick was pushed out by Linde but Ince pounced to drill the ball low into the net.
England had won their previous six internationals at this level and a seventh successive victory was in the bag.
Hughes was one of four substitutes introduced by England at the start of the second half.
He popped a couple of simple passes off for starters before he almost opened up Sweden with a slalom run.
Ince was denied his hat-trick by August Stromberg, on for Linde, and a rare attack by Sweden saw Andreas Blomqvist fire a low shot narrowly wide.
Further substitutions saw a switch in England's shape which meant Hughes was moved to the left side of a four-man midfield.
He was crowded out as he tried to wriggle free in the area and create a shooting opportunity before England went four up after 77 minutes, when Connor Wickham headed home a cross from Henri Lansbury.
All the second-half changes, as is often the case, interrupted the tempo and flow in the second half but England proved far too good for Sweden on the night.
ENGLAND UNDER-21: Steele (Rudd, 46); Smith (Lees, 75), Wisdom, Dawson, Robinson; Henderson (Hughes, 46), McEachran (Chalobah, 67); Ince, Shelvey (Lansbury, 46), Afobe (Wickham, 46); Zaha (Lowe, 57). Sub not used: Amos (gk).
SWEDEN UNDER-21: Linde (Stromberg, 46); Johansson (Azulay, 72), Milosevic, Helander (Bergstrom, 72), Malm, Hrgota (Nazari, 75), Allansson (Blomqvist, 62), Hiljemark, Andersson (Larsson, 46), Nyman (Barkroth, 62), Ishak.
REFEREE: F Zwayer (Germany).