Lennon justifies Eriksson's faith

Last updated at 14:43 26 May 2006

Aaron Lennon last night showed just why England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson named him in his World Cup squad.

Lennon was a real livewire in England B's 2-1 defeat to Belarus at Reading's Madejski Stadium - particularly in the first half.

"You have to look past the result," said Lennon on Sky Sports. "It was my first game for England and a few others were making their debuts.

"You've got to take the good things out of it and take the positives into the other friendlies coming up."

Lennon declared: "It felt like my senior debut."

The 19-year-old started the game with great pace and energy on the England right. His speed and direct approach posed all sorts of problems for the visitors' defence.

After making the chance for Peter Crouch's disallowed goal, he exploded on another jinking run into the penalty box, beating his man convincingly before shooting over.

England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson said: "You are always disappointed to lose a football game, but the result was not important.

"Our senior players did very well. Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole needed 90 minutes and Michael Owen had one hour, which was very good. He seems fit and didn't feel anything after the game.

'Aaron is a player who can make a difference'

"The youngsters also did well and Aaron Lennon showed why he is in the squad. He played very very well."

Tottenham fans will not have been surprised by the contribution of their player.

Lennon arrived at White Hart Lane from Leeds last July and was not expected to make an impression on the first team - but an injury to Wayne Routledge offered an opportunity the youngster seized.

With searing pace and a fearless attitude, Lennon was impressive as Spurs challenged for a fourth-placed finish in the Barclays Premiership, scoring twice in the process, although they were pipped on the final day of the season by Arsenal.

His two goals - against Birmingham and Bolton - illustrated his quality, showing his ability to get into the penalty area and also a cool head under pressure when defenders are closing in.

Spurs boss Martin Jol explained: "Even when things are not going well, Aaron is a player who can make a difference. He has got that special habit - who else can do that?

"He can also play on the left and in the future he can play in the hole. If he picks up a ball, the defender must get the ball or he is in difficulty - that is a great asset for a club."

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