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Ward-Prowse scores as Saints stars shine on world stage
8:06pm Tuesday 15th October 2013 in Sport
James Ward-Prowse’s stellar rise to stardom took another upward curve as he scored his first goal for the England under-21s.
The Saints midfielder, who is still only 18, has been a regular under Gareth Southgate and celebrated his fourth cap with a goal.
Ward-Prowse, whose fantastic set-piece delivery has become a hallmark of his performances for Saints, curled in a wonderful free kick on 27 minutes as England under-21s romped to a 5-0 victory over Lithuania in their European Championship qualifier at Portman Road.
The evening almost got even better for Ward-Prowse, who played the full 90 minutes, as his shot struck the woodwork in the closing stages.
“I am really pleased,” said Southgate. “We have threatened to get a result like that in a couple of our other matches and tonight we were a bit more ruthless in front of goal.
“I was delighted to see how enjoyable it was to watch. We know there is great potential amongst the squad of players.
“What we've got to do is mould them into a team and that is starting to come.
“The players are enjoying playing, playing with freedom, playing with great expression and creativity.
"We will have harder tests than we have had tonight, there is no question about that, and when we go there we will have a very difficult test I am sure.
"But up to now the attitude and response from the players to everything we have tried to do has been first class."
There was also joy with the Three Lions for Calum Chambers.
The 18-year-old’s fantastic progression continued as he captained the England under-19s to victory in their crucial game against Switzerland.
England’s win meant they topped Group 9 of 2014 UEFA European Under-19 Championships to make it through to the Elite Qualifying Round.
Mason Bennett bagged the all important goal on 34 minutes that saw right back Chambers lead his side to victory.
Croatia made it there despite a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Scotland in their final group game.
Lovren played the whole match at Hampden Park.
Steven Davis won plaudits from Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill after scoring the equaliser for his country in Israel.
Davis has captained his nation during a tough qualifying campaign and O’Neil said: “It was a good piece of play and a good goal. I'm delighted for Steven because it was a great finish.
"It's difficult as a manager when you're not winning games but it's not easy being captain either and he's handled himself very well."
Dani Osvaldo started for Italy who were held to a shock 2-2 draw at home to Armenia.
Osvaldo led the line until being replaced by Mario Balotelli on 54 minutes in a game where the result wasn’t crucial with the Italians having long since booked their place in Brazil.
Maya Yoshida suffered a second friendly defeat in a row.
The centre half was again at the heart of the Japan defence following their 2-0 loss to Serbia, but couldn’t stop them from slipping to another defeat, this time 1-0 against Belarus in Minsk with Jan Tigorev getting the decisive goal a minute before half time.
Lloyd Isgrove was an unused sub for Wales as a late Aaron Ramsay goal earned them a surprise 1-1 draw in Belgium.
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