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International Roundup: Impressive Outing For Wickham But Not Much Joy Elsewhere

Keiren Westwood was very nearly on the losing side, and James McClean was not a happy bunny.
Keiren Westwood was very nearly on the losing side, and James McClean was not a happy bunny.

There's no Sunderland game this weekend, but plenty of Sunderland players have been in action as the qualifying for the 2014 World Cup begins.

There's also been several youngsters in action as the vast majority of under-21 teams and under-19 teams saw action, including some tough outings for Sunderland's kids.

We all know now that Adam Johnson was missing from England's game against Moldova, and will also miss Tuesday's game with the Ukraine, but here's how the rest of our globe-trotters got on...

Starting off with the youngest of our participants, third-string goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saw action as England's Under-19 team lost 3-1 to Germany in Hamburg. The youngster played 75 minutes of the game before being replaced by Jonathan Sutherland. Pickford was the one picking the ball out his net three times, but was helpless on each occasion and couldn't be blamed for any of the German strikes.

John Egan was also on the losing side as the Republic of Ireland Under-21 side lost 2-1 in Hungary. Egan started and played the entire game at right-back, picking up a yellow card in the process. He's sure to be involved again as they take on Italy next week.

There we sightings of both Danny Rose and Connor Wickham in Baku as England defeated Azerbaijan at Under-21 level 2-0 thanks to goals from Jonjo Shelvey and Steven Caulker.

Rose started the game at left-back and got forward well throughout, although we should consider the opposition were very poor here. Rose set up chances for Sordell a few times while back tracking well to ensure nothing went a miss at the other end. A solid day, and bodes well for the weekend.

Connor Wickham came on as a 69th minute substitute for Marvin Sordell, and almost produced the goods immediately as his far post header went narrowly wide. Wickham's presence was felt again later as he nodded into the path of Shelvey who made it 2-0 in the 83rd minute.

To the first of our senior players, and it was a relatively poor game from Seb Larsson as he started on the right hand side of midfield for Sweden's unconvincing 1-0 win over China. Larsson's early season poor form continued and he didn't really look to be at his best despite staying on for the full 90 minutes.

Over to Kazakhstan where there was a forceful Sunderland contingent in action for Ireland as they won 2-1 thanks to late goals from Kevin Doyle and Robbie Keane. We'll start from the back and work our way forward, and that begins with Keiren Westwood in goal.

The new found number one had a busy night. First of all doing well to deny Tanat Nusrbayev early in the first half, but was helpless when Kairat Nurdauletov headed the opener on 37 minutes. Sloppy marking allowed the defender to power home behind Westwood with ease from close range.

Shaken, Westwood nearly allowed the Kazakh's a second goal a moment later when he could only parry a shot straight into the path of an on-rushing attacker who struck the post.

Things got a little quieter for him as the Irish turned things around in the second half, and it was also a quiet day for John O'Shea who completed the full 90 minutes from right-back. He linked up well with Aiden McGeady on the odd occasion he got forward, but we all know that's a rarity in O'Shea's game.

David Meyler was not named among the substitutes for the game, but will be hoping for a chance against Oman next week. James McClean... well I'll be surprised if he get's a game next week following his post-match Twitter outburst after being an unused substitute (more on that HERE)

Simon Mignolet still has to wait to win his eleventh cap for his country after once again being on the bench for the full game while Thibault Coutois started the Belgian's 2-0 win in Cardiff over Wales. Sat on the opposite bench was David Vaughan, an unused sub for the Welsh, which was to be expected given his lack of fitness.

Finally we round off with Stephane Sessegnon and Ahmed Elmohamady who were set to go head-to-head in a friendly between Egypt and Benin on Friday night. The game however was cancelled after Al Ahly stormed the Egyptian FA Headquarters leading to violent scenes as they protested against a stadium ban.

So, an interesting weekend certainly, but very little actually happened on the pitch. The plus sides are I suppose that Sessegnon and McClean at least didn't get injured. We'll have another roundup next Wednesday after Monday and Tuesday's games.

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