The less than fruitless products of the last England side to win the European Under 21 Championships in 1984 is enough reason to heed caution upon the emergence of another string of international prodigies from the home of football.

The cast list from that infamous year reads no better than Steve Watson, Steve Hodge and Gary Stevens, and while the competition has helped spark into life the careers of Andrea Pirlo, Luis Figo and Davor Suker, in a modern era where the 'if you're good enough, you're old enough' mantra is more relevant than ever, the role of Under-21 games are becoming more immaterial by the year.

A point emphasised by Raheem Sterling, who earned his first senior call-up and appearance last November against Sweden, before making his Under-21 bow the following month; backwards progress what English football does best.

Germany will tell you the senior team can profit from a burgeoning Under-21 side, with five of the players who finished third at World Cup 2010, having won the European Championship 12 months previous. But for the longevity of Under-21 football, that German quintet collectively represent the exception, not the rule.

Wilfried Zaha
Zaha scored the opener at Adams Park.

Having lost just one of the last 18 games, Stuart Pearce had clearly achieved consistency, but as England's performance at the 2011 championships, where they failed to qualify from the group stage, suggests, this level is no stranger to a false dawn.

If the atmosphere and attendance of 6,304 at the first England Under 21 international at Adams Park for 16 years was a reflection on the profile of this level of football, despite the majority of Pearce's squad regulars in the Premier League, then the public rapidly catching on to the diminishing importance of what is quickly becoming second-tier international competition.

But the disparaging treatment of the fixture, which was even followed by members of her majesty's press watching the second half, amid the freezing conditions, in the comfort of the press room, ended there.

In Sterling and Wilfried Zaha, who opened the scoring with an excellently taken goal; shifting the ball onto his right foot before curling past a helpless Laurentiu Branescu, England possess two players who aren't far from Roy Hodgson's forward thinking. it was another moment of brilliance that would have left Ian Holloway cursing and Sir Alex Ferguson gleaming.

If the senior team are not to benefit from the exhibition of England's rising stars, then there's no doubt Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers, are. The half-time introduction of Jack Robinson meant five of England's outfield players hailed from Anfield and it was only a matter of time before they exerted their influence as Jonjo Shelvy's floated back-post cross was volleyed home by the onrushing Robinson.

Romania showed little of the resistance that saw them lose narrowly over two legs in the Euro 2011 play-offs, but could call on none of the players who featured across those two games and by the time Nathan Delfouneso added a third, the game was up, and the fans were out of their seats and on their way.

England's preparations for Israel might have continued apace with a record eighth consecutive win, but the truth remains that as far as their senior international prospects are concerned, this level no longer provides the pathway nor the barometer for such a step.