With Saido Berahino promoted to Roy Hodgson’s England squad, the mantel was there for one of the nation’s young Lions to take on.
And Clarets striker Danny Ings did just that. Within seven minutes the 22-year-old became the first Burnley player to score for his country at Turf Moor.
It’s certainly been a whirlwind career to date for last season’s SkyBet Championship Player of the Year who was readying himself for an FA Trophy third qualifying round tie against Weston-super-Mare for Conference South side Dorchester Town this time four years ago.
Burundi-born West Brom forward Berahino netted 10 times in 13 outings for Gareth Southgate’s side, Ings now has four in five appearances after scoring a brace on his first start for his nation in the 9-0 romp over San Marino at Shrewsbury Town’s Greenhous Meadow last November.
The former Bournemouth hitman, whose only domestic breakthrough this term came at the same venue in Burnley’s 3-1 Premier League defeat to Everton last month, flicked home Tom Ince’s delightful centre.
The hosts took command from Romanian referee Sebastian Coltescu’s first whistle in what was a dress rehearsal for the pair’s European Under-21 Championships Group B clash in the Czech Republic next June.
Ings’s quick feet in the fourth minute were almost hypnotic as he scythed through A Selecção’s midfield, though he couldn’t guide the ball beyond Rui Silva after working the ball out to West Ham United full back Carl Jenkinson.
Portugal, however, failed to heed that warning and within minutes they fell behind. Luis Alves failed to cut out Nathan Redmond’s pass as the Norwich City winger stepped infield from the touchline and Ince whipped the ball in to the six-yard box for Ings to turn in to the far corner.
The fluidity of movement and understanding between Ings and Ince was pulling holes in the away side’s rearguard, but the former lifted over on the half volley -shielding the ball from Frederico Venancio - as the duo combined again just after the quarter-of-an-hour mark.
Any hope that Portugal had of penetrating England’s backline belonged down the flanks, particularly with the pace of Ricardo Pereira and Armindo Bangna who attempted to break as Jenkinson pushed forward.
It was Pereira who was foiled by Jack Butland from an acute angle once Bernardo Silva’s miscue from the penalty spot landed fortuitously in to his path.
England were caught again soon after when Clarets loanee Michael Keane, signed from Manchester United by Sean Dyche on deadline day, conceded possession before Bruno Fernandos dragged an effort wide of the upright following Pereira’s drive.
After Silva saved comfortably from Redmond - with Tobias Figueiredo gifted the ball to Tom Carroll centrally - Derby County’s Will Hughes was denied by the linesman’s flag when confidently tucking Ince’s incisive assist in to the corner.
Hughes, though, turned provider before the interval as England doubled their advantage. Redmond’s cutting pass provided the platform and Hughes’s pull back was driven home by Jenkinson who had arrived unmarked at the edge of the box.
Rui Jorge, who featured in Euro 2000, Euro 2004 and the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea, made a tactical change at the break to alter the momentum.
And the transformation - with Malaga winger Ricardo Horta introduced in a bid to stretch England’s backline - paid dividends. In the 48th minute Bangna’s sublimely executed reverse pass found Silva and the AS Monaco midfilder slipped the ball left-footed through the legs of Butland from an uncompromising angle.
Portugal were playing with more purpose and went within inches of an equaliser on two occasions - but Ruben Neves’s volley dipped over the bar while Fernandes found the outside of the post.
Carroll curled over the bar as the hosts responded before Nathaniel Chalobah made it a hat-trick of Clarets on the pitch when replacing Hughes just before the hour.
The Chelsea midfielder’s impact was immediate as he threaded a pass out on to the left hand side for Redmond to fizz a centre across goal and as Silva failed to cut the ball out, Ings gobbled up his second of the fixture when side-footing in to an empty net to make it 3-1.
Jorge was prompted in to a triple change. Fabio Sturgeon, Carlos Mane and Joao Carlos Teixeira were introduced.
Again the visitors threatened as Pinto Ruben forced Butland to save with his legs after forcing a way through, while at the other end Redmond shaped an effort beyond the far post from Jenkinson’s pass in to the box.
Ings left the field of play to a standing ovation in the 80th minute, and to smiles from Southgate as the Under 21 boss found his answer to Berahino’s departure.