ENGLAND began their Euro 2016 preparations with a hard-fought, if not entirely convincing, victory over Turkey in their first home match on the road in nine years.
Fresh from this week naming a provisional 26-strong party for France, Roy Hodgson’s men played the first of three warm-up matches at a sparsely filled Etihad Stadium, where Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane led the England line having managed 49 league goals between them this term and quickly proved a nuisance, the former centimetres away from latching on to the latter’s pass after 35 seconds.
England’s dynamic attack soon bore fruit, though, as a quick, incisive move gave them a third-minute opener.
Delli Alli met a pass from Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling with wonderfully quick feet, directing the ball between Mehmet Topal’s legs and through for Kane to coolly slot home.
The goal should have been chalked off for offside and Turkey boss Terim pointed that out to the fourth official, seemingly showing him a replay of the incident on his phone.
Ozan Tufan was denied by a timely Kyle Walker block and Cenk Tosun’s near-post drive was kept out by goalkeeper Joe Hart as the visitors looked to draw level, which they managed as England’s defence was easily opened up.
Volkan Sen raced behind Danny Rose and drew out Hart, whose poor positioning was capitalised on when the ball was cut across for Hakan Calhanoglu to sweep home a historic Turkish goal.
Kane, who had failed with a couple of free-kicks, cut in and saw a low strike saved, then flashed well wide as half-time approached. Two deflections took the sting out of an Alli attempt moments after the restart, with Kane finding the net again only to have it ruled out for offside.
At the other end, the visitors threatened with worrying regularity as Tosun lost his marker to head Calhanoglu’s corner wide. Tosun then fizzed wide after turning wonderfully on the edge of the area.
In the 72nd minute, Vardy was racing on to a through ball when he went down under pressure from Turkey captain Topal and referee Deniz Aytekin awarded a penalty, but Kane’s powerful strike from the spot hit the left post and went wide.
It was an exasperating moment that did not cost his side as captain Gary Cahill rose to meet an 83rd-minute corner from the Tottenham striker. Volcan Babacan’s save was impeded by a team-mate and Vardy reacted to rifle home from an acute angle.
There was an air of relief following the Leicester striker’s third goal for his country, before Hart had to produce a wonderful one-handed save to deny Olcay Sahan a stoppage-time leveller.