International Roundup: Wickham Goal Gives O'Neill Something To Ponder

Bryn Lennon

Connor Wickham netted for England Under-21's against Austria as only a select few managed to make it to the second round of international fixtures on this scheduled break. Who played, who played well and who's injured? All the news is here!

Starting off on Monday night when Martin O'Neill and indeed probably all Sunderland fans watched England Under-21's though their fingers as Danny Rose and Connor Wickham both played from the off.

Both came through what ended up a routine 4-0 win for England's youngsters against an Austria side who ended the game with just nine men on the pitch.

Rose had a very decent game, solidifying his place in Stuart Pearce's team for the summer's Euro tournament in Israel, showing some all the excellent attacking and defensive ability we've seen so far this season. Rose's biggest involvement before being substituted in the second half was a superb goal-line clearance to deny the Austrians with the scores tied at 0-0.

Connor Wickham also had a good outing. He was sort of involved in England's opening goal as he chased down a long ball which was handled outside the area by the Austrian 'keeper, allowing Jonjo Shelvey to smash home the opening goal.

Shelvey and Wickham seemed to form a useful partnership, with Shelvey proving capable of playing in a free role behind Wickham, and Wickham capable of leading the line on his own. Something which he might have to do at club level sooner rather than later.

Wickham was proving to be a handful for the Austrian defence all night, and he did well to get another player on the scoresheet in the form of substitute Marvin Sordell. Having out-muscled his marker he got to the byline and cut back to the Bolton Wanderers striker to dispatch from close range.

The £8m striker rounded off the scoring for the night in the 74th minute latching on to a long ball over the top and when one-on-one with the opposing 'keeper used a sublime drop of the shoulder to round him and slot into and empty net.

Wickham squandered a late opportunity to get himself another goal, but ultimately both Sunderland players can be quite pleased with how they did on international duty and can return to Wearside with their pride in tact and confidence high.

Over in Ireland John O'Shea and James McClean both started for the "Boys In Green" as they drew 2-2 with Austria.

O'Shea enjoyed a steady game for the Irish, certainly in comparison to his central defensive teammate Ciaran Clark who had an absolute nightmare, costing his side a goal. O'Shea picked up a booking midway through the first half for a nothing foul. Overall though, steady and unspectacular night for the captain.

McClean once again lined up on the left hand side of midfield, and followed up a good showing against Sweden on Friday with another fine performance. McClean was a threat throughout, finding space and creating chances for others. Notably for Shane Long who backheeled against the post from a McClean cross.

He also nearly had himself on the scoresheet on several occasions. A cross in the first half had the Austrian keeper scrambling while a freekick grazed the side neting. A late header was collected tamely.

Keiren Westwood was once again an unused substitute with David Forde emerging as the countries number one.

Ji Dong-Won and Ahmed Elmohamady both started for their countries over the break too, with Ji fluffing a great chance during his side's 2-1 win over Qatar, while Elmo had a steady game as Egypt sneaked a late win over Zimbabwe.

Simon Mignolet continued to sit on the bench for Belgium during their game against Macedonia on Tuesday night.

Seb Larsson was not involved in Sweden's game with Slovakia as he was told along with several other more senior internationals that he wasn't needed for the game by Erik Hamren as he looked to experiment with the side.

David Vaughan continued to miss out for Wales with an injury, as he did against Scotland, and took no part against Croatia last night. He's expected to be able to push for starting spot against Manchester United this weekend though.

Stephane Sessegnon also withdrew from his national call up and took no part as Benin faced Algeria. Sessegnon will be able to face Manchester United this weekend though, there's little doubting that.

Steven Fletcher of course missed Scotland's away game against Serbia owing to his ankle injury, and is expected now to miss at least 6 weeks of the season, possibly the remainder of the season, meaning there's a great pressure on Danny Graham and/or Connor Wickham to make things happen in attack.

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