Andros Townsend delivered again on the international stage, as the Tottenham Hotspur winger equalised for England with a stunning strike late on in Tuesday’s international friendly with Italy.
The first half was one to forget for the Three Lions, yet there were great improvements in the second, showing promising signs of an excellent partnership already developing between Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane.
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The first chance of the game fell to Italy after 10 minutes, as midfielder Marco Parolo tried his luck from 25 yards with an excellent swerving strike that needed England stopper Joe Hart to send over the bar.
Roy Hodgson’s side were lucky not to have conceded seven minutes later, after superb defending from Phil Jagielka saw the Everton centre-back clear a pass, from Matteo Darmian, across a hapless Hart, stopping a certain goal.
Nonetheless, Italy’s pressure didn’t pay off, and England so nearly took the lead through captain Wayne Rooney who hit the cross-bar with a volley, but the Manchester United striker will be disappointed to have scuffed his strike.
However, 29 minutes in and the Italians took the lead through Graziano Pelle. Giorgio Chiellini eased past Phil Jones on the left-flank, and Pelle just managed to stay onside, nodding the ball into the far corner with the slightest of touches.
Only five minutes into the second-half and England were almost off to the worst start.
Hart was called into early action, following terrible defending from his side, with Jagielka’s clearance gifting Pelle with a chance in the box, that the striker really should have buried.
A half-volley struck almost too sweetly by Rooney came was England’s best chance so far, but his shot was hit straight at Gianluigi Buffon who made no mistakes.
And it was the Old Trafford star who again came close – nearly latching onto a low Harry Kane cross from the right-flank.
The duo certainly showed signs of a blossoming partnership.
The equaliser was coming for the Three Lions, and it was Andros Townsend who took just nine minutes after coming off the bench to hit a brilliant strike to save England’s blushes. Take a bow!