Andros Townsend’s spectacular strike gave an experimental England line-up a creditable draw against Italy in Turin.
Southampton striker Graziano Pelle’s first-half header looked to have put Italy on course for victory in this friendly as England struggled to get to grips with the changes made by manager Roy Hodgson after Friday’s Euro 2016 qualifier win against Lithuania.
England, however, were lifted by the introduction of several substitutes and Townsend capped a second-half display that merited a draw. The Tottenham winger’s rising 20-yard drive 11 minutes from time gave Italy’s veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon no chance.
Hodgson’s side then ended the game on top and only a fine save from Buffon stopped England captain Wayne Rooney – who had earlier hit the bar – from adding to his total of 47 goals for his country and closing even further on Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time record of 49.
The experiment of using Phil Jones in midfield failed dismally and he reverted to defence when Chris Smalling went off ill just before half-time. Similarly, it was a wasted night for Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, misused in a forward role rather than on the wing.
There were pluses too, however, with an excellent cameo from Everton’s Ross Barkley and a composed performance from Michael Carrick when he replaced Smalling.