Italy U21 0 England U21 2: Conor Gallagher has hand in both goals as Rhian Brewster double downs 10-man Italians
RHIAN BREWSTER netted his first goals since January in a first-half blitz.
Conor Gallagher, back with England Under-21s having not been picked for the seniors this month, was involved in both early strikes.
The Chelsea midfielder won a penalty which Brewster dispatched and then his interception led to the Sheffield United forward doubling the lead with only five minutes on the clock.
Italy, unbeaten in Euro qualifying, were left frustrated in this friendly on the Adriatic coast and had captain Nicolo Rovella sent off for a second yellow card late on.
Lee Carsley’s men made the perfect start when Gallagher was tripped in the penalty area inside 66 seconds.
Brewster showed a confidence that belied the fact he had not scored since January by sending goalkeeper Alessandro Plizzari the wrong way.
The striker missed the second half of last season with a bad hamstring injury.
But his struggles to find the net during his time at Sheffield United have continued on his return this season, with no goals in 11 appearances.
Yet the way he took his second on five minutes showed why Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom must keep the faith.
Again Gallagher was key as he won possession and offloaded the ball to Angel Gomes, who supplied an inch-perfect ball through to Brewster.
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The 22-year-old produced a sumptuous, first-time finish as he lifted it over the advancing Plizzari and into the net.
In a change of tack, boss Carsley had opted for a 3-4-3 system to get the best out of Spurs wing-back pair Ryan Sessegnon and Djed Spence.
It also made them difficult to break down, though Pietro Pellegri would have scored were it not for a fine Josef Bursik stop.
Then Brewster showed the other side of his game as he headed a Mattia Viti effort off the line.
Levi Colwill had his own header from a corner go agonisingly close to a third right on half-time, but it cannoned against the post.
Italy had plenty of shots after the break, but mainly from range, and when Rovella was given his marching orders with five minutes to go for catching Jacob Ramsey’s calf, there was no way back.