As one England era came to an end, you get the feeling another one has just begun after England blew away the USA 3-0 Thursday.
All eyes were on Wayne Rooney pre-match as England’s all-time scorer won his 120th cap, a record for an outfield player, but once the match kicked off the current crop of Three Lions youngsters took centre stage at Wembley.
Rooney’s moment did arrive slightly earlier than expected when he came on with 35 minutes to play, and he rolled back the years from a deeper role and almost scored a fairytale final goal in injury time but Brad Guzan reacted quick enough to get down and keep it out.
AS IT HAPPENED: England 3 USA 0
However, by that point his young charges had done their best to steal the show.
England won the match thanks a blistering first-half salvo before Callum Wilson put the icing on the cake with a debut goal late on.
Jesse Lingard opened the scoring with a wonderful curling effort midway through the first half, before Trent Alexander-Arnold doubled England’s lead less than two minutes later when he fired a rocket past Guzan.
Manager Gareth Southgate named a much-changed side with a focus on the future. There were debuts for Wilson and Lewis Dunk, while Jadon Sancho and Ben Chilwell were both handed their first start in an England shirt.
Southgate was even able to bring on a third debutant at half time when Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy replaced Jordan Pickford.
READ MORE: Wayne Rooney’s final match in pictures
Sancho in particular showed why he is seen as one of Europe’s hottest young prospects with a dazzling first half display on the wing. The Borussia Dortmund youngster combined nicely with Chilwell on the left flank, and set up Alexander-Arnold’s goal with a neat delayed pass.
— England (@England) November 15, 2018
The Three Lions came roaring out of the blocks, monopolising possession in the opening five minutes and playing with a style that suggested this young side had not been overawed by the occasion.
England had clearly targeted the flanks and directed much of their play in behind the American fullbacks, winning a succession of corners which culminated in Dele Alli forcing a wonderful save from Guzan, who had to be a full stretch to tip the midfielder’s header on to the bar.
Wilson then had a chance to open his England account on debut following Guzan’s error but the Bournemouth striker couldn’t sweep the ball home. Lingard then had a chance to take the lead, but his powerful shot was straight at the keeper.
They were almost made to pay when Christian Pulisic – who has been linked with Chelsea this week – ran on to his own pass and Pickford was forced to stand tall and make an excellent save.
That save proved crucial because England took the lead barely a minute later, and it was through a wonder goal from Jesse Lingard.
The Manchester United attacker received the ball in the corner of the box, he opened his body up and sent a wonderful, curling shot into the top corner.
The one-goal lead lasted less than two minutes however.
Alli picked out Sancho on the edge of the area, who waited for Alexander-Arnold on the overlap, and the Liverpool youngster lasered a drive across Guzan and into the far corner.
But Pickford then had to be alert keep out another Pulisic drive to see out the half.
The second half started much more sedately than the first but one of the biggest roars came in the 55th minute when England’s captain was brought on in a triple substitution along with Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson.
IN PICTURES: Wayne Rooney’s career highlights
England were then almost made to pay for their slow second half start when they switched off at a corner and allowed Pulisic the time to send in a short corner, but Bobby Wood put his header inches over the bar.
However any threat of a USA comeback was extinguished with 15 minutes to play when Wilson got in front of his man and volleyed home Fabian Delph’s early cross to put England 3-0 up.
In the end there was to be no fairytale 54th goal for Rooney, but based on tonight’s performance England’s future is looking rosey without their former talisman.