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National team boss showers praise on stand-in players who stepped up to the mark in friendly match at Wembley as Liverpool forward claims first goal at international level

England boss Fabio Capello was encouraged by the impact made by fringe players in the 1-1 friendly draw with Ghana at Wembley this evening.

Capello allowed a host of senior players to return to their clubs after securing three points against Wales in the European Championship qualifier at the weekend.

With a team that featured seven changes, England played a fluid brand of football in the 4-3-3 shape that was adopted against Wales, with a performance against Ghana that was full of attacking endeavour.

Andy Carroll scored his first goal at senior level with a clinical strike while Ashley Young, Stewart Downing and Danny Welbeck were also notable performers.

"It’s important he scored a goal," said Capello of the £35m Liverpool striker.

"It’s really important for a striker and important for his confidence. He needs more time and more games to improve.

"I remember Carroll before he suffered injury problems. Some players run a lot, always fighting. They need games. He is a big player.

"It is impossible to improve quickly [after injury]. He can improve a lot."

Coming off the bench Welbeck also looked sharp and having now appeared for the Three Lions, any questions about the Manchester United youngster appearing for Ghana - who he also qualifies for - have been put to rest.

"Welbeck, for me, will be another really important player for England," said Capello.

"Physically, technically he will be really important for Manchester United because he is a really good player. He can improve, he wants to improve.

"I monitored him last year and I always think he was an important player. He played right wing last year and played very well. This friendly game was the moment to see the value of him.

Having allowed a host of senior squad members to return to their clubs, inevitable questions were asked as to the intrinsic value of an international friendly game at this stage of the domestic season.

Though, the swashbuckling nature of the performance will give the England manager food for thought for his next squad selection ahead of the game with Switzerland in June.

"I was pleased with the effort," he said.

"I saw a fantastic game, not a friendly game. Every tackle was a fight and the players played very well, including some players who have not played a lot of games here.

"It was interesting for me to see players play here. All the players played really well tonight."

With sceptics wondering whether the game would be played out tepidly, a vibrant performance from players who had a point to prove perhaps justified the worth of such friendlies.

"I think it was an exciting game," said Capello.

"It was a really important game for the fans and the players who have never played here.

"This is the most important thing because it was a really good game, a fast game. We played to win and go forward and score goals."

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