Date:Saturday May 26 2007
Turf Moor was close to capacity last night as Steve McClaren's England B team visited Burnley for a friendly match against Albania. England B came out comfortable 3-1 winners thanks to Alan Smith's first half opener and a couple from Stewart Downing.
There was great atmosphere as the 20,568 crowd were also treated to the return of Michael Owen in England colours for the first time since his long lay off from injury. Owen made an impressive return and had this to say about his performance
'I feel sharp and, if given the chance, I feel confident when in front of goal,'
'I had one good opportunity in the first half and just put it wide but I feel happy with the night's work.'
'I am happy to have played the 90 minutes. It will hopefully make me sharper and sharper,' said Owen, who was also captain on the night.
'I've been out of action for nearly a year and this was only my fourth game since coming back, so I am never going to be at my total best, but I feel my touch is decent.
England coach Steve McClaren had this to say about his side's performance
'We did everything right and the players can be proud.
'There was a great spirit during the week and you could see that in the way they played.
'Michael's overall performance was very good, it was just the goal, the icing on the cake that was missing.'
Clarets chairman, Barry Kilby was over-the-moon as Turf Moor provided the stage for the eyes of the footy fans.
Barry said 'What a fantastic night it's been.
'It is great to see Turf Moor full and with such a great atmosphere about the place. I just wish it could be like this every week!'
Kilby went on to say: 'The best thing for me has been the compliments we've had from everyone, from the FA to the Albanian people who have been very kind about the club.
'I think we have done Burnley proud and it's one of my proudest nights as chairman.'
There were thanks also from FA Chairman Geoff Thompson who said the following in the match night programme.
'Our grateful thanks are due to Burnley Football Club for agreeing to stage this prestigious match at Turf Moor, a ground with great history.
'The England senior team played Wales here way back in 1927 and, more recently, our Under-20s and our Women's team have met Holland and Australia respectively in the past four years.
'We are very pleased to be coming to this part of the country again.'
England B: Carson, Neville (Jagielka 46), Dawson, King, Shorey (Lescott 73), Bentley (Defoe 72), Jenas, Barry (Taylor 64), Lennon (Downing 10), Owen, Smith (Dyer 64).
Subs Not Used: Green, Nugent.
Goals: Smith 34, Downing 37, 58.
Albania: Beqaj (Hidi 78), Vangeli, Dede, Rrustemi, Haxhi (Ahmataj 79), Bulku, Skela (Hyka 75), Duro (Vrapi 65), Berisha, Muka (Murati 46), Bushi (Sinani 72).
Subs Not Used: Xhafa.
Goals: Berisha 44.
Ref: Andrea De Marco (Italy).
Date:Saturday May 26 2007
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