England 3, Wales 0 (Friendly)
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Conor Coady, and Danny Ings all scored their first international goals as England beat Wales in a friendly at a deserted Wembley.Embed from Getty Images
England’s in-form fringe players repaid Gareth Southgate’s faith in them with a dominating performance to slay the Welsh dragons after a slow start.
Calvert-Lewin and Bukayo Saka were handed England debuts as Gareth Southgate made seven changes from the last England game in the first of a triple header of England games in October.
The tight schedule meant England had to rotate the squad for the friendly against Wales with one eye on UEFA Nations League games against Belgium and Denmark.
And it was the first time that Wembley had hosted an England game without supporters in 94 years and after a slow start England got back into the swing of things.
Kieran Trippier captained the relatively inexperienced England side, with just 54 caps between them, which lined up in a 3-5-2 formation against Wales at Wembley.
Squad selection had been affected by the omission of players for breaches of COVID regulations – Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell, and Jadon Sancho were ruled out of the Wales game and could miss the Belgium depending on the results of coronavirus tests after breaking the rules at a surprise birthday 23rd birthday party for Abraham.
Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood were already missing having broken coronavirus rules while on international duty in Iceland in September.
Nick Pope started in goal with question marks starting to emerge over Jordan Pickford’s place in the team following his recent fluctuations in form.
Keiffer Moore shot wide after 20 minutes as England started stodgily against Wales, offering little going forward but the Cardiff man was involved in most of Wales’ best moves.
England take the lead and don’t look back after Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Conor Coady, and Danny Ings score their first England goals.
But England kept calm and took the lead after 26 minutes, heading a superb lofted right wing cross by Jack Grealish – the Villa captain making his full England debut – past Wayne Hennessey from 3 yards out.
He as the first Everton striker to score for England at Wembley since Gary Lineker in October 1985 against Turkey after he made the most of limited opportunities.
Pope had to be alert to deep crosses from Wales but England remained comfortable and Conor Coady fired high from 12 yards out after meeting Michael Keane’s cross one of the few occasions that the home side ventured forward en masse.
Wales were dealt a blow late in the first half when Moore went down clutching his left toe for the second time in the game and had to be substituted with Neco Williams coming on.
Wales boss Ryan Giggs made a double change at half time, bringing on Dylan Levitt (on loan from Manchester United at League One Charlton) for Joe Morrell while Ben Cabango replaced Joe Rodon.
But Coady doubled the England lead in the 53rd minute after a great pacy cross by Trippier from a free kick that was half volleyed home from 6 yards out.
With England on top Southgate made a triple change after 58 minutes, taking Calvert-Lewin, Trippier, and Joe Gomez off and replacing them with Mason Mount, Rhys James, and Tyrone Mings.
Ings made it 3-0 after 63 minutes after Wales left him in space from a corner – his overhead kick flew in past Hennessey after a it was flicked back into the action by Mings.
Grealish’s ball across the six yard box went begging with Hennessey in a flap as the midfielder tormented the Wales defence.
Saka’s deflected shot had to be clawed away from the Wales goal by Hennesey to prevent a fourth for England who were cruising in the final quarter.
Giggs made two more changes in the 73rd minute, with Matthew Smith (on loan at Charlton from Manchester City) and veteran Chris Gunter coming on to earn his 97th cap for Wales.
And Southgate responded with another triple change in the 76th minute bringing on Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Harvey Barnes, and James Ward-Prowse to hand a rest to Winks, Saka, and Grealish.
Neco Williams robbed Maitland-Niles as England looked for a fourth while Pope plucked a hopeful Wales ball into the box before any trouble could ensue.
Hennessey made a final save just before full time to deny Ward-Prowse as Wales’ winless run against England since 1977 continued.
GOALS – England 3, Wales 0 (Friendly)
England 1, Wales 0: 26. Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his first England goal on his debut, heading past Wayne Hennessey from 3 yards out after meeting Jack Grealish’s right wing cross to continue his Everton run of form.
England 2, Wales 0: 53. Conor Coady scored his first goal on his second England start with a half volley to beat Wayne Hennessey from 6 yards out after a pacy Kieran Trippier free kick from the right.
England 3, Wales 0: 63. Danny Ings’ superb overhead kick beat Wayne Hennessey after Tyrone Mings headed a corner back into the 6 yard box – a memorable first England strike for the forward.
MATCH STATS – England 3, Wales 0 (Friendly)
England: Pope, Gomez (Mings 58), Coady, Keane, Trippier (James 58), Phillips, Grealish (, Barnes 76), Winks (Ward-Prowse 76), Saka (Maitland-Niles 76), Calvert-Lewin (Mount 58), Ings
England Subs not used: Henderson, Pickford, Rashford, Alexander-Arnold, Maguire, Rice
Goals: Calvert-Lewin 26; Coady 53; Ings 63
Wales: Hennessey, Conor Roberts, Rodon (Cabango 46), Mepham, Davies, Ampadu (Vaulks 62), Morrell (Levitt 46), Tyler Roberts (Gunter 73), Jonny Williams (Smith 73), Matondo, Moore (Neco Williams 40)
Wales subs not used: Ward, Davies, Johnson, Norrington-Davies, James, Woodburn
Booked: Conor Roberts 42 (foul on Bukayo Saka); Ampadu 57 (foul on Jack Grealish); Levitt 61 (foul on Harry Winks)
Referee: Bobby Madden