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Tuesday 27 September 2016

Turkey push England all the way as Vardy strikes late to claim win

England 2-1 Turkey

England’s striker Jamie Vardy scores his team’s second goal during the friendly against Turkey at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. Photo: Getty
England’s striker Jamie Vardy scores his team’s second goal during the friendly against Turkey at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. Photo: Getty

England began their Euro 2016 preparations with a hard-fought, if not entirely convincing, victory over Turkey in their first home match on the road in nine years.

Fresh from this week naming a provisional 26-strong party for France, Roy Hodgson’s men played the first of three warm-up matches at a sparsely-filled Etihad Stadium.

There were more people at Wembley for non-league day, but the 44,866 in Manchester saw a competitive encounter, with Jamie Vardy’s close-range strike sealing a 2-1 win in England’s first match away from their London home since 2007.

The friendly was far tougher than it looked like being after the hosts raced into a third-minute lead, with Dele Alli’s quick feet putting through Harry Kane to coolly slot home, with the assistant failing to flag for a clear offside against the Tottenham striker.

Fatih Terim’s visitors quickly rallied, though, and raised fresh questions over England’s defence by all too easily getting behind the backline and drawing out Joe Hart as Hakan Calhanoglu turned the ball home.

Turkey were unfortunate not to add to their first ever goal against England, but were unable to beat the Three Lions at the 11th time of asking as Vardy netted late on.

The Leicester striker fired home from close range after Kane’s penalty miss did not cost England on a day when Hodgson’s side rode their luck at times.

Despite being without Manchester United and Liverpool players, with the exception of Jordan Henderson, the England boss was able to select a strong side as Jack Wilshere made his first international appearance since June - and just his second start of the season for club or country.

The 24-year-old’s campaign was derailed by a broken leg towards the end of pre-season but he played 69 minutes of the Gunners’ final game of the Premier League term - a 4-0 win over Aston Villa - and he allayed fitness fears after England’s win. He said: “I feel good and 100 per cent.

Goalscorer Vardy highlighted Wilshere’s quality, saying: “You can see what Jack brings - he can see that killer pass.”

On Kane’s spot-kick miss, the Leicester striker said: “I’m sure he will be first to put his name forward for a penalty next time.

“We started well in the first half and finished the half strongly after Turkey came back into it. In the second half we did well to win it.”

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