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Under 23 Results                        Page Last Updated 11 May 2022



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'U23' 02 vs. Italy
Wednesday, 20 January 1954
International Friendly Intermediate Match

Italy 3 England 0

Both sets of Intermediate players had to be under the age of 23 on 31 December 1953 and must not have played in more than one full international.
Stadio Comunale, Saragozza, Bologna
Kick-off (CET): 'this afternoon'

Attendance: '35,000'.
Italy kicked-off Bill Dodgin won the toss
[1-0] Guiseppi Virgili 10
 slipped the ball past the advancing goalkeeper into an empty net
allowed - despite being offside
[2-0] Gina Pivatelli 55
 low drive through a group of players
[3-0] Marco Savioni 90

 from a scramble following a corner
There is no Television or Radio coverage
"Imps' defeat shows our Soccer ideas are out of date" Daily News
Officials from France Italy FIFA ruling on substitutes England
M. Harsig
tbc tbc
Italy Team


No official ranking system established; Colours: Blue jerseys, black shorts, black socks.
Capt: Luciano Comaschi Manager: Lajos Czeizler, 60 (5, October 1893, in Heves, Hungary)
Team chosen from a party of thirty youngsters.
Italy Lineup
1 Stefani, Ideo 21
306 days
20 March 1932 G Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio
2 Comaschi, Luciano 22
201 days
3 July 1931 RB Napoli SSC
3 Bernasconi, Gaudenzio 21
165 days
8 August 1932 LB Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio
4 Zagatti, Francesco 21
277 days
18 April 1932 RHB AC Milan
5 Turchi, Giorgio 22
86 days
26 October 1931 CHB Bologna FC 1909
6 Invernizzi, Giovanni 22
147 days
26 August 1931 LHB Udinese Calcio
7 Conti, Oliviero 20
326 days
28 February 1933 OR UC Sampdoria
Pivatelli, Gina 20
299 days
27 March 1933 IR Bologna FC 1909
Virgili, Guiseppi 18
180 days
24 July 1935 CF Udinese Calcio
10 Tortul, Mario 22
329 days
25 February 1931 IL UC Sampdoria
Savioni, Marco 22
331 days
23 February 1931 OL Novara Calcio
unused substitutes: Gianni Romano (Udinese Calcio), Giulio Corsini (Atlanta BC), Umberto Colombo (AC Monza)
2-3-5 Stefani -
Comaschi, Bernasconi -
Zagatti, Turchi, Invernizzi -
Conti, Pivatelli, Virgili, Tortul, Savioni
Averages: Age 21 years 241 days  
"Football Association selectors yesterday announced the names of players who will form a new international team, called the England Intermediate Team, which is to be officially regarded as third in importance to the full international side, and the England 'B' team which is the reserve XI.
"Italy have agreed that all players in the match must be under 23 on December 1931, 1953, and that none shall have played in more than one full international match." - Tuesday, 5 January 1954, The Yorkshire and Leeds Mercury.

"This is the start of the scheme whereby potential full international players can get the vital experience of playing in an international match setting abroad. They will also have the opportunity of playing together in groups ― another valuable experience for the future."
- Monday, 10 January 1954, Walter Winterbottom.
England Team


No official ranking system established; Colours: The 1949 home uniform - White collared jerseys, blue shorts, black socks with white tops (no badge).
Bill Dodgin
only, W 0 - D 0 - L 1 - F 0 - A 3.¹
Manager: Walter Winterbottom, 40 (31 March 1913), appointed as FA national director of coaching/team manager on 8 July 1946;
first intermediate match, W 0 - D 0 - L 1 - F 0 - A 3.
FA member in charge: Joe Richards
Team chosen by Intermediate Selection Committee, headed by Joe Richards, on Monday, 4 January.
England Lineup
U23 no.    league position (4 January)  
1   Wood, Raymond E. 22
223 days
11 June 1931 G Manchester United FC (FL 6th) 1 3ᵍᵃ
2 2 Gunter, Philip Edward 21
14 days
6 January 1932 RB Portsmouth FC (FL 17th) 1 0
3 3 Ellis, Sydney Carey 22
157 days
16 August 1931 LB Charlton Athletic FC (FL 8th) 1 0
4 4 Whitefoot, Jeffrey 20
20 days
31 December 1933 RHB Manchester United FC (FL 6th) 1 0
5 5 Dodgin, William 22
77 days
4 November 1931 CHB Arsenal FC (FL 7th) 1 0
6 6 Edwards, Duncan 17
111 days
1 October 1936 LHB Manchester United FC (FL 6th) 1 0
the youngest u23 player
7 7 Finney, Alan 20
81 days
31 October 1933 OR Sheffield Wednesday FC (FL 15th) 1 0
8 8 Broadbent, Peter F. 20
250 days
15 May 1933 IR Wolverhampton Wanderers FC (FL TOP) 1 0
9 9 Leary, Stuart Edward 21
265 days
30 April 1933
in Cape Town, South Africa
CF Charlton Athletic FC (FL 8th) 1 0
10 10 Nicholls, John 22
292 days
3 April 1931 IL West Bromwich Albion FC (FL 2nd) 1 0
11 11 Blunstone, Frank 19
95 days
17 October 1934 OL Chelsea FC (FL 11th) 1 0
unused substitutes: Ron Flowers (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC (FL TOP)) and Johnny Haynes (Fulham FC (FL2 9th)). Flowers was also the deputy goalkeeper.
team notes: On Monday, 18 January, the 'Imps' had a trial match with Chelsea FC, although the match lasted with a twenty minute first half and a 35 minute second half, the match ended 1-1. Roy Bentley scoring for Chelsea and Stuart Leary heading the equaliser.
2-3-5 Wood -
Gunter, Ellis -
Whitefoot, Dodgin, Edwards -
Finney, Broadbent, Leary, Nicholls, Blunstone.
Averages: Age 20 years 344 days Appearances/Goals 1.0 0.0
              Match Report by Clifford Webb, as appears in the Daily News, 21 January 1954

Down we go again. A few more Soccer jolts like the 3-0 defeat hammered into England's Imps by Italy's under-23s here today, and we shall be really rocked into revolution.
The plain truth is that our youngsters showed the same vital failings as their seniors. They ere beaten for speed, accuracy and effective use of the ball. In its way, this was a bigger blow than the Hungarian staggerer at Wembley. When every allowance has been made for travel-weariness and lack of practise together, it is fairly conclusive proof that we are outdated, even in our methods of bringing up the boys.
Said team manager Walter Winterbottom afterwards: "All these lads look good and fast in their club sides, yet today they were beaten to the ball and never looked like pulling a winning stroke."
It is obvious that our game as a whole is stuck in a groove.
Matt Busby, manager of Manchester United and the best producer of young players in the business, commented: "It was very disappointing. The Italians played a much more mature brand of football."
Our fellows were struggling from the time Virgili, the much-muscled and idolised 18 year-old, scored with a tame push into an empty net, after 11 minutes.
It was so blatantly off-side it was laughable. And Bill Dodgin and goalkeeper Ray Wood were flabbergasted at the decision. Still there was nothing wrong with the second-half goals from Privatelli and, in the last second, Savioni. What is more, those goals always looked like coming, whereas our actual scoring chances were rarer than rain in the Sahara.
There is little point in blaming the individual English players. There was no slacking.

Dodgin stood up well to the sly shirt-pulls and the deliberate body-checking, which no Italian team seems to be able to eliminate completely, and he cut Virgili's activities down to a minimum. But the slick manner in which the other Italian forwards switched positions often found Gunter and Ellis out of touch. Edwards, 17-year-old 'babe' of the side, seemed overawed in the first half, but came back full of fight after the break. The locals fell hook line and sinker for the clever footwork of Peter Broadbent, but his smart individual efforts seldom menaced the goal, because his colleagues did not run to the appropriate spaces for his passes. Stuart Leary played a curiously unenterprising game, sticking upfield close to the opposing centre-half, in complete contrast to his roving Charlton style.
Johnny Nicholls, one of the smartest goal snappers in League football, was like a fish out of water away from clubmate Ronnie Allen, who was ineligible for selection in this team.

This cut down Frank Blunstone's efficiency on the wing. Was our journey really necessary? I'll say it was, if only further to emphasise our shortcomings, and get those responsible to make the very necessary changes.


              Source Notes
Original newspaper reports   Rothman's Yearbooks