Jamie Vardy spared Harry Kane’s blushes as his late winner ensured England started their preparations for Euro 2016 with a 2-1 win over Turkey at the Etihad Stadium.
Tottenham striker Kane had put England into an early lead in Manchester, only for Hakan Calhanoglu to restore parity in the 13th minute.
Kane, top scorer in the Premier League this season, then missed a second-half penalty as it appeared Turkey would frustrate England in their first warm-up fixture for the European Championship in France.
However, Vardy – whose goals helped Leicester City to an unlikely Premier League title this season – fired in a late winner from a goalmouth scramble to boost his chances of starting England’s opener against Russia in Marseille on June 11.
Manager Roy Hodgson was without most Manchester United and Liverpool players due to their involvement in the FA Cup and Europa League finals, but he will have been pleased to see fit-again Jack Wilshere last 65 minutes, before being replaced by another returning midfielder in Jordan Henderson.
Turkey, drawn in a tough-looking Group D with Spain, Czech Republic and Croatia, saw their unbeaten run end at 13 games and they have now failed to beat England in 11 meetings between the sides.
The visitors may have feared a worse outcome when England took the lead inside three minutes.
Dele Alli slipped in club-mate Kane to slot home a straight-forward finish, although the striker was seemingly offside when the pass was played.
Turkey coach Fatih Terim was incensed by the decision to allow the goal, showing the fourth official Kane’s illegal positioning on a mobile phone.
The visitors responded strongly, though, first Kyle Walker blocked Ozan Tufan’s strike before Cenk Tosun forced a good save from Joe Hart with a snapshot.
And the hosts’ backline was breached after 12 minutes with Turkey scoring for the first time against England.
With left-back Danny Rose caught out of position, Hart misjudged a throughball into his penalty area and Sen got there first to pull a cross back for Calhanoglu to apply a simple finish.
England had chances to regain the lead before half-time with Volkan Babacan saving a Wilshere drive before Eric Dier glanced a free header wide and Kane shot straight at the Turkey goalkeeper on the half-hour mark.
Kane had the ball in the net again five minutes into the second half after patient England build-up play, but this time the striker was correctly flagged for offside by the assistant referee.
Cenk then planted a free header off-target before the Besiktas striker swivelled and fired just wide of Hart’s left-hand post.
The hosts had a great chance to regain the lead in the 72nd when Vardy was pushed from behind in the box by Mehmet Topal having run in behind the Turkey defence, but Kane’s fierce effort smashed the left post and went wide.
England did find a winner, though, when Babacan fumbled Gary Cahill’s downward header at a corner and Vardy reacted first to smash in his third international goal.
Hart then preserved England’s victory in injury time with a brilliant instinctive from Olcay Sahan’s superb volley, and Hodgson’s men can now turn attentions to warm-up fixtures with Australia and Portugal.
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