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Page last updated at 19:18 GMT, Thursday, 24 March 2011

Micah Richards injured as England U21s thrash Denmark

Micah Richards is stretchered off in Denmark
Manchester City defender Richards was stretchered off early on in Denmark

Manchester City defender Micah Richards was stretchered off with a hamstring problem as England's Under-21 side beat Denmark 4-0 in a friendly on Thursday.

Richards collapsed clutching his left thigh early on but England went on to end a run of three games without a win.

Technically sound Denmark shone after that but a fine long-range strike from Danny Welbeck put the visitors ahead.

Stuart Pearce's side added goals after the break through Scott Sinclair, Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson.

Pearce, who has been offered a new two-year contract to remain as coach when his current deal expires after this summer's European Championships in Denmark, will be pleased that his stuttering young team rediscovered their ruthless streak in Viborg.

England pounced on a number of defensive mistakes made by the Danes, who failed to punish a string of England errors, although Nicolai Jorgensen had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside.

Injury-plagued captain Richards, a regular with FA Cup and Champions League-qualification chasing City this season, was replaced by West Ham's James Tomkins.

The visitors took the lead in the 23rd minute when Michael Lumb, under no pressure, managed to head the ball straight to Welbeck.

Sunderland's on-loan Manchester United striker took a touch 25 yards out before hitting a looping left-footer into the roof of the net.

England were clinging on before half-time, but Denmark shot themselves in the foot again in the 58th minute when Sturridge's 30-yard curler was parried by Jonas Lossl straight to in-form Swansea striker Sinclair who prodded home without fuss.

Bolton's on-loan Chelsea forward Sturridge soon got the goal his performance deserved four minutes later when he bamboozled Erik Sviatchenko before sliding the ball home from 10 yards.

Pearce made a host of changes with Monday 's friendly against Iceland in mind before Henderson turned well to fire in a close-range fourth to add a late gloss.

"I was disappointed with the performance in the first half to be honest," said Pearce.

"In the second half I thought it improved greatly. The main thing for me tonight was to learn something about the players.

"I thought Sturridge was outstanding this evening and the goalkeeper [Alex McCarthy] has come in for his first full start and done extremely well."

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see also
Pearce offered new England deal
24 Mar 11 |  Football
England U21s draft in McEachran
07 Feb 11 |  Football
England U21s get tough Euro draw
09 Nov 10 |  Football
Interview: Micah Richards
18 Oct 08 |  Football Focus

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