England U16s Overcome Wales in the 2012 Victory Shield
Despite coming up on the losing end of the anthem battle as well as some of the best weather that Port Talbot, Wales had to offer, Kenny Swain’sEngland U16s battled to a 1-0 win against a strong-in-the-tackle Welsh side. England remain unbeaten in the Victory Shield, with six goals scored, and none conceded.
With the referee hauling both teams off in the 24? due to torrential hail and heavy wind, it was a wonder either side were able to get a handle on a game that was also being sternly tested by a shoddy pitch.
Wales had the upper hand in the first 10 minutes, with Danny Byrne pulling the strings and putting Danny James through on goal. A delightful pass caught the England back four on their heels, with Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson bravely coming off his line to block James‘ shot.
Despite the first half being interrupted by poor weather conditions, after the restart England started to achieve some balance and poise going forward. Chelsea winger Dominic Solanke and Manchester Unitedmidfielder Marcus Rashford continued to play well together, with Arsenal striker Denzil Boadu working tirelessly up top alone. The three almost combined, but were denied by a strong save from Wales’ Luke Pilling.
At the start of the second half, England brought on Chelsea’s Mukhtar Ali and Newcastle United’s Kyle Cameron in place of Middlesbrough’s Callum Cooke and Aston Villa’s Easah Suliman.
It wasn’t long before Charlton’s Joseph Gomez almost capitalized, raking a shot from inside the box goalwards – only for it to be frantically cleared off the line. Minutes later, however, some neat interplay between Boadu and Solanke saw the latter finish with aplomb from six yards out.
Further subs to take the pitch included highly rated Foday Nabay of Birmingham City (who just turned 14),Liam Walsh of Everton, and Keenan King of Leicester City (a late replacement). There was time for Aliof Chelsea to test Pilling from range, before Everton‘s Ryan Ledson almost capped off a true Captain’s performance with an absolute peach of an effort from distance. One of the many positives to come out of the victory.
While many of the user generated comments about the England U16s on this blog are focused around theChelsea youth team, you can certainly see why there is excitement not only about them, but for the rest of this crop – arguably some of the most technically proficient in some time. No longer are England youthsides constrained by one or two standouts, it is starting to instead be a team effort not driven by size – but by talent and touch.
Kenny Swain on the England U16 win:
“Getting the results at this level is obviously important but the performances are what count and I thought the lads worked very hard to get the victory.
“I’m delighted that the boys are coming through so well, in the last two games we’ve seen some real quality and I’m sure that will continue in the final game against Scotland in Burton.
“I’m pleased that I’ve seen so many players over the two games and we’ve got a lot more players to see.”
Special mention should also go to Ellis Bellamy, son of Craig, who came on for Wales with three minutes to spare. In the 2011 fixture son of Wales legend John Charles, Jake Charles, also turned out for his country. Always nice to see.