Sunderland’s Wickham strikes again for England

RULED OUT ... Connor Wickham.
RULED OUT ... Connor Wickham.

CONNOR Wickham flashed a reminder of his potential to Paolo Di Canio last night when he scored yet another England Under 21 goal.

The English routed their Scottish counterparts 6-0 in a one-sided game at Bramall Lane in front of 27,000 fans.

And as well as being a muscular presence up front before being substituted on the hour, Wickham got on the scoresheet with a delightful finish when he punished goalkeeper Jordan Archer’s howler of a goal-kick.

The Scottish goalkeeper’s attempted punt was sliced horribly and Wickham was not only alert, but showed great technique, to lob the ball back over the stricken Archer from 25 yards out.

Wickham’s goal was his sixth for the Under 21s and at all levels for England his record is now 16 goals from 32 games.

Coming as it did, on the eve of the season, Wickham will hope it is enough to keep him in Di Canio’s mind.

Big summer signing Jozy Altidore is expected to be a regular up front, alongside Stephane Sessegnon when the season starts and then Steven Fletcher when the Scottish international returns to full fitness.

Beyond that, there is Ji Dong-won, expected to leave for Germany this summer, but who has impressed on the training ground at the Academy of Light and could well remain at Sunderland offering great competition.

Wickham, still only 20, does not want to become the forgotten man at the Stadium of Light and endure another season of drift.

And he will hope that last night’s goal prompts Di Canio to include him in his first-team squad against Fulham for the first game of the 2013-13 campaign at the weekend.