England U19s are in a strong position to advance to the final round of Euro qualifying after they cantered to an 8-0 dismissal of Luxembourg.
Manchester City forward Brandon Barker, Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Fulham’s Patrick Roberts scored a brace each, while Charlie Colkett and Bradley Fewster also got themselves on the scoresheet in what was a totally dominant performance by Sean O’Driscoll’s side.
They now have six points from their opening two qualifiers, following Friday’s 3-0 win over Belarus, and face one last game, against Belgium, on Wednesday. The top two nations will progress to the elite qualifying round next spring.
Luxembourg 0-8 England
UEFA European U19 Championship
First Qualifying Round
Sunday 12 October
O’Driscoll made five changes to the team that started against Belarus.
Southend United’s Ted Smith replaced Freddie Woodman in goal, West Ham’s Reece Burke came in for Ben Chilwell, Colkett, from Chelsea, took Dele Alli’s place, Tottenham’s Harry Winks replaced Bryn Morris and Fewster started in place of Izzy Brown.
This meant some positional changes in the back four. Ola Aina moved from the centre of defence to right-back, Ashley Smith-Brown switched flanks to left-back and Burke lined up alongside Brendan Galloway in the middle.
England were in complete control from the first whistle and dominated possession throughout – it was therefore no surprise when they took an early lead.
It began with Winks on the left. His ball inside was dummied by Loftus-Cheek, who then collected Roberts’ neat through ball and found the corner of the net from 12 yards.
It was 2-0 shortly after – and again the chance came from the left-hand side. Barker skipped past the Luxembourg right-back, Ewert Noe, with ease, got to the by-line and cut the ball back for Colkett to tap in from close range.
The result was put beyond doubt following a crazy couple of minutes midway through the first half. Firstly, Barker was upended inside the box by Noe, and England’s No18 dusted himself down to smash the subsequent penalty into the roof of the net.
Less than two minutes later England had another penalty as Roberts was tripped by Tim Hall. The Fulham youngster took responsibility and, after a re-take, sent Andrea Amodio the wrong way to put his side 4-0 up.
The host nation were being totally outplayed and the only way they could stop the England attacks was by fouling O’Driscoll’s players, and they picked up three first-half bookings in the process. One of these misdemeanours led to the Young Lions’ fifth goal on 44 minutes as Barker curled an 18-yard free-kick into the far corner.
There was still time for Winks to curl a free-kick of his own against the bar before the break.
Chelsea’s Alex Kiwomya and Reading’s Rob Dickie were introduced at half-time, for Barker and Galloway, but the changes did not disrupt England’s rhythm as Loftus-Cheek extended his side’s lead just five minutes after the restart.
He dispossessed Luxembourg captain, Gerard Mersch, in the middle of the park and burst forward unchallenged before slotting past Amodio. It was his third goal in two games – and his manager spared him the final 20 minutes, replacing him with Morris.
Colkett came close to notching his own double but Amodio somehow repelled the thumping effort from point-blank range.
Luxembourg did come close on one occasion when Christophe Thiel’s effort was deflected onto Smith’s crossbar by Colkett.
Fewster made it 7-0 with just two minutes remaining – but the plaudits must go to Roberts who jinked his way down the right before crossing to the far post where the Middlesbrough striker was on-hand to convert.
And Roberts completed the scoring in added time, tapping into an empty net after some fantastic combination play with Colkett.
Luxembourg: 12 Andrea Amodio, 2 Ewert Noe, 3 Yanick Da Graca Dias, 4 Aldin Skenderovic, 5 Tim Hall, 6 Cedric Sacras, 7 Frederic Thill, 8 Gerard Mersch (C), 9 Edvin Muratovic, 14 Eric Veiga, 15 Max Mangen.
Substitutes: 18 Christophe Thiel for Muratovic 22, 10 Ricardo Couto Pinto for Veiga 45, 16 Florian Bohnert for Mangen 64.
Substitutes not used: 1 Valentin Roulez, 11 Elvis Lima Sousa, 13 Sven Kalisa, 17 Andre Oliveira Barros Da Silva.
Bookings: Hall (23), Mersch (40), Skenderovic (45)
Head coach: Claude Campos
England (4-3-3): 13 Ted Smith (Southend United); 2 Ola Aina (C; Chelsea), 5 Reece Burke (West Ham United), 6 Brendan Galloway (Everton), 12 Ashley Smith-Brown (Manchester City); 8 Charlie Colkett (Chelsea), 17 Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur), 14 Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea); 7 Patrick Roberts (Fulham), 9 Bradley Fewster (Middlesbrough), 18 Brandon Barker (Manchester City).
Substitutes: 16 Robert Dickie (Reading) for Galloway ht, 10 Alex Kiwomya (Chelsea) for Barker ht, 4 Bryn Morris (Middlesbrough) for Loftus-Cheek 67.
Substitutes not used: 1 Freddie Woodman (Newcastle United, on loan at Hartlepool United), 3 Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), 15 Dele Alli (MK Dons).
Goals: Loftus-Cheek (7) (50), Colkett (13), Barker (21 pen) (44), Roberts (23 pen) (90), Fewster (88).
Bookings: Burke (76).
Head coach: Sean O’Driscoll
Referee: Michael Tykaard (Denmark)