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Under-21s hit for four

Posted on 28 February 2001  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

England U21 (0) 0 Spain U21 (2) 4

England Under-21 coach Howard Wilkinson insisted that the record 4-0 mauling by Spain at St Andrews was "a worthwhile exercise" - if the players learn from the experience.

Ledley King and Alton Thelwell featured in the second half, but were unable to help reduce a scoreline that was already two goals in deficit.

Wilkinson remained in a positive and upbeat mood despite seeing his side being outplayed in the opening 45 minutes. They were often chasing shadows in a warm-up game for the more crucial European Championship qualifiers with Finland at Barnsley on March 23 and in Albania four days later.

But Wilkinson, who had lost several regular players to Sven-Goran Eriksson's first senior squad, is confident the experience can be beneficial for the future.

"It's better the game finished up like it did rather than us hauling back the deficit and everyone saying 'what a terrific fightback' and being drowned in the euphoria of the result," said Wilkinson.

"If that was the case they might have forgot all the other bits. It was a bad performance and the defenders found the tide coming in for half of the game. In that period you were scratching your head and thinking of some players: 'I've not recognised them.'

"But I said to them at full-time that there were lots of pluses to take out of the game if we are prepared to learn from our mistakes. We were up against a very good side whose movement and passing was excellent, but they were also organised, determined and energetic in the way they went about getting the ball back.

"It's a case of comparing that with our passing and movement and we were almost clumsy at times in the first half. But the good thing is that it was a friendly and, if they are prepared to take the lessons on board, then it will have been a worthwhile exercise. The result was not foremost in my mind.

"But everyone will get another chance. Nobody has been sentenced to prison! Everybody gets another chance."

Two goals in each half killed off England, who enjoyed their most productive spell when Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi came on for the second half to create chances for Mark Wilson and Jonathan Greening, but both failed to convert.

England U21: Robinson, Griffin (Thelwell 59), Bridge, Hargreaves (Prutton 72), Terry (Greening 47), Barry (Ameobi 47), Chadwick (King 47), Wilson, Alan Smith, Dunn (Riggott 47), Christie (Upson 47).
Subs Not Used: Weaver, Johnson, Young, Vassell, Naylor.
Booked: Alan Smith.

Spain U21: Aranzubia (Reina 47), Varela, Bermudo, Jusue, Marchena (Boris 79), Orbaiz (Fernandez 47), Joaquin (Coira 67), Xavi, Pablo (Xisco 72), Guayre (Colsa 47), Vicente (Yeste 73).
Booked: Marchena, Coira.
Goals: Pablo 14, 21, Colsa 64, Xisco 86.
Att: 13,761
Ref: J Mcdermott (Ireland)