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Ledley King of England beats Giovanni Dos Santos to the ball during Monday's game. ((Clive Mason/Getty Images))

Ledley King headed in England's opener as the injury-prone defender returned from a three-year international exile to help his team beat Mexico 3-1 in a World Cup warm-up Monday at London's Wembley Stadium.

Chronic knee problems have restricted the 29-year-old King's England career, but the Tottenham captain survived the full 90 minutes unscathed, boosting his hopes of making the final cut for South Africa.

King was teed up in the 17th minute by Tottenham teammate Peter Crouch's header across goal. And Crouch managed to net a second-with the help of his arm-in the 34th despite England being outplayed in the first half.

Goalkeeper Robert Green twice denied Mexico's Arsenal forward Carlos Vela and Carlos Salcido hit the post, but the visitors Guillermo Franco claimed a deserved goal for the visitors on the stroke of halftime.

Glen Johnson restored England's two-goal cushion at the start of the second half with a curling shot from 20 metres and the home side looked more comfortable after changes were made at the break.

England plays Japan on Sunday, while Mexico is in action again on Wednesday against the Netherlands and takes on Gambia on Sunday. The deadline for submitting the final 23-man World cup squads to FIFA is June 1.

Mexico's World Cup campaign opens against host South Africa on June 11, with England playing the United States the following day.