Three England players scored their first international goals to give Gareth Southgate’s experimental team a comfortable 3-0 win over Wales in a friendly at Wembley Stadium on Thursday.
In-form Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin netted in the 26th minute before second-half goals from Conor Coady and Danny Ings secured the win in the warm-up game for Nations League matches against Belgium and Denmark.
It was the first time three players have scored their first England goals in the same game since June 1963 against Switzerland.
Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, making his first start for his country, set up on the opener with a perfect cross from the right that was met by debutant Calvert-Lewin with a trademark header.
Right back Kieran Trippier, captaining the England side, provided the ammunition for the second, whipping in a brilliant free kick from the right which was poked home at the back-post by Wolves defender Coady.
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It was another set-piece that led to the third, with Tyrone Mings rising to head a corner back across the penalty area and Ings volleying home with an overhead kick.
Both teams had several players missing from their squads for the first international held at Wembley without supporters, giving the game the feel of an old “B international”.
Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell, Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood all missed the match after they breached COVID-19 protocol regulations.
“I thought the players did very well,” Southgate said. “It’s so difficult for a new team to come together without much experience, it was not fluid at the start but we got more and more into the game, the players saw the tactical problems Wales posed to us when they were pressing and I thought we finished strongly.”
The England manager had particular praise for Calvert-Lewin, who has scored nine goals in six games for Everton this season.
“He had excellent presence, his runs are a threat, he presses well and he took his goal well. He’s an all-round centre forward. I’ve always liked his general play but it’s the goals that are making him another level of player,” said Southgate.
England host Belgium on Sunday and Denmark on Wednesday in the Nations League while Ryan Giggs’ Wales team travel to play Ireland and Bulgaria.