Rhian Brewster’s quick double earned England Under-21s an impressive 2-0 friendly win in Italy.
The forward tripled his goal tally for the Young Lions at Pescara as Lee Carsley’s side began their countdown to Euro 2023.
Brewster had netted just once in 16 previous games but he was pledging to be Carsley’s killer next summer after impressing since recovering from a serious hamstring injury that ruined the Sheffield United striker last season.
Skipper Nicolo Rovella was sent off to Italy late after conceding two yellow cards as England cruised to victory.
Carsley had Italy’s highlights in the St George’s Park canteen on a loop to give his team as much information as possible so little time he has with them before they next meet in March.
The manager wanted to put his side – who host Germany in Sheffield on Tuesday – to the test and they had clearly been paying attention to every message as they raced 2-0 up.
Conor Gallagher was knocked out by Edoardo Bove after just a minute and Brewster stepped up to give the visitors the lead from the penalty spot.
The Blades forward – who has only scored three league goals in the last two years – then added a cute second after just five minutes.
Gallagher was involved again, allowing Angel Gomes to shoot through Italy’s midfield, passing Brewster for a fine finish over the exposed Alessandro Plizzari.
Andrea Cambiaso headed over the goal before Gallagher was denied a third by Chelsea after 15 minutes when Caleb Okoli produced an excellent block.
England were comfortable but still needed Brewster to nod Rovella’s header off the line just before half-time.
Carsley’s side nearly went 3-0 at the break when Levi Colwill hit a post in first-half injury time.
The hosts tried to recover and Lorenzo Colombo shot wide early in the second half but England limited them to speculative efforts.
Cole Palmer saw Plizzari lose his low drive just after the hour before Carsley made a series of changes including swapping Brewster for Folarin Balogun.
England maintained their composure in a professional and controlled performance which will please the manager, although they nearly allowed a lifeline for Italy when Colombo passed.
The night then ended as badly as it began for Italy when Juventus’ Rovella, on loan at Monza, received a second yellow card four minutes from time for a reckless tackle on Jacob Ramsey.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/england-under21s-italy-rhian-brewster-pescara-conor-gallagher-b2173323.html Rhian Brewster scores twice as England Under-21s celebrate impressive victory in Italy