England U21 1-0 USA U23: Wilson caps debut with winner
Last Updated: 04/09/15 7:34am
James Wilson scored the winner on his debut as a new-look England U21 side defeated the USA U23 side 1-0 in Preston.
After a disastrous European Championships, when Gareth Southgate's squad finished bottom of its group in the summer, 11 players turned out at this level for the first time.
And it was Manchester United forward Wilson who made the biggest impression with a close-range finish 10 minutes after coming off the bench to settle the contest at Deepdale.
The 19-year-old has scored four times in 18 appearances for his club side but has yet to make an appearance for them this season despite a shortage of attacking options.
While he looks set to go out on loan following the £36m arrival of Frenchman Anthony Martial, Wilson gave a timely reminder of his capabilities with a typical poacher's finish.
He will consequently be in contention to start when Southgate's team start their 2017 European qualifying campaign in Norway on Monday.
Only seven players from the squad which capitulated so spectacularly in the Czech Republic are still in the squad.
Yet debuts for Liverpool duo Joe Gomez and Jordon Ibe, Tottenham's Dele Alli and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford ensured there was a freshness about the side.
In front of a 10,187-strong crowd, the hosts had most of play in a first half packed with plenty of youthful exuberance.
Indeed, their opponents only threatened when Gomez, playing at right-back, twice gave away possession in a matter of moments, the second right in front of his goalkeeper.
England's chances were better with striker Cauley Woodrow, a scorer in his last two matches for Fulham, having a snap-shot from Ibe's cross turned behind and heading over the resulting corner.
Norwich's Nathan Redmond had the best opportunity having been teed up in space by Woodrow but he fired an angled drive straight at goalkeeper Cody Cropper.
Tottenham's attacking midfielder Alli also showed flashes of promise early on, lobbing over from Redmond's through-ball before his influence began to fade.
With plenty of running, Redmond and Ibe provided pace and width but regularly lacked a genuinely threatening final ball.
Nine England changes just past the hour - plus almost as many for the USA - introduced seven more debutants and put paid to the chances of maintaining any fluency.
But it did add some potency in the form of Wilson, who poked home Duncan Watmore's cross in the 71st minute and then executed an exquisite chip which rebounded off the far post.