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Theo inspires Englands kids

Theo inspires Englands kids

A superb Theo Walcott goal guided England's under 21 to a 3-0 win over Republic of Ireland's under 21. England have virtually assured themselves a play-off place to reach 2009 European championship.

If the England U21's were to win at the Stadium of Light they would almost certainly qualify to the Euro championship. Stuart Pearce set the team out in a 4-5-1 with th epace of Milner and Lennon down the wings and the electric Walcott down the middle.

In th efirst half it was clear that England really wanted it but Republic of Irealnd held out well stringing a few good passes.

England created a couple of chances were Milner shot from outside the area and the keeper could only parry it out to Theo Walcott, who from a tight angle, only just hit wide.

In the second half Walcott and Lennon were deadly whenever they got the ball and were constantly causing havoc of Republic of Ireland.

Eventually the hosts broke the Republic's spirited resistance on the hour mark when Stephen O'Halloran deflected James Milner's low cross into his own net.

Andy Keogh wasted three decent close-range chances for the visitors and Joe Hart clipped Adam Rooney's shot around the post.

And as Ireland tired, the excellent Milner drilled in a low drive from 25 yards to put England 2-0 up.

It was then Theo Walcott who sealed the win with a delightful clipped finish. Very much Henryesque, opening up his body and with the inside of his foot delicately placing the ball into the top corner. The Southampton crowd went wild as the bright teenager got his first goal in 10 games.

Stuart Pearce's side now need only a point from their final group game against Portugal to claim top spot and guarantee a play-off place.