Euro 2016 qualifier: Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane on target in England stroll
Wayne Rooney and debutant Harry Kane scored as England sank Lithuania 4-0 at Wembley on Friday to claim a fifth consecutive win in qualifying for the 2016 European Championship.
London: Wayne Rooney and debutant Harry Kane scored as England sank Lithuania 4-0 at Wembley on Friday to claim a fifth consecutive win in qualifying for the 2016 European Championship.
Rooney`s early header took him to 47 England goals -- two shy of Bobby Charlton`s record -- and Tottenham Hotspur breakthrough star Kane netted with his second touch after coming on as a substitute to mark his first international appearance with a goal.
Raheem Sterling also claimed his first goal in an England shirt, while Danny Welbeck capped a man-of-the-match performance with his sixth strike of the qualifying campaign.
The victory preserved England`s six-point lead at the top of Group E and means Roy Hodgson`s side will travel to Italy for next week`s friendly with a place at next year`s tournament in France already in sight.
There had been conjecture prior to kick-off as to whether Kane would start the game, but Hodgson`s decision to keep faith with Welbeck quickly bore fruit in the first ever meeting between the teams.
Adopting a roving role on one side of Rooney, with Sterling his counterpart on the other side, the Arsenal man immediately forced Igoris Pankratjevas`s men back with his directness and sinewy running.
Rooney squandered a chance to open the deadlock in the fourth minute, steering the ball against the post from Fabian Delph`s flick, but he did not require a second invitation.
Two minutes later, Welbeck nutmegged Tadas Kijanskas before forcing Giedrius Arlauskis to save and Rooney followed in to head home his 47th international goal.He was to strike the woodwork again in the 19th minute, intelligently looping a header against the bar after Welbeck had athletically hoiked the ball back from the byline.
There was one first-half scare for England, with Phil Jones obliged to block from Deivydas Matulevicius after right-back Nathaniel Clyne had allowed Vytautas Andriuskevicius room to cross.
But it did not have the feeling of a true contest and England were soon back on top, with Arlauskis smothering Rooney`s free-kick and the rampant Welbeck curling over before the latter made it 2-0.
Stooping, Welbeck managed to help on Jordan Henderson`s cross-shot from the left and the ball bobbled into the net via a big deflection off Kijanskas`s thigh.
The onslaught continued in the second half, with Arlauskis producing a fine one-handed save to repel a volley from Delph and then beating away a shot from Welbeck.
The third goal duly arrived shortly before the hour and saw captain Rooney turn provider with an inviting right-wing cross that Sterling turned in.
Kane, scorer of 29 goals for Tottenham this season, made his entrance to loud cheers as a replacement for Rooney in the 71st minute and it took the 21-year-old just 80 seconds to find the net.
Sterling reached the byline on the left before lifting a cross to the back post and Kane powered a downward header through Arlauskis`s grasp to confirm his burgeoning reputation as English football`s hottest property.