'I'm not a striker – but I’ll do a job' says Layton Ndukwu

Sunday 26 Oct 2014
Ndukwu with his match ball after netting a hat-trick against Cyprus
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Layton Ndukwu was happy he could repay the faith of manager John Peacock with a hat-trick – but says he should have had four.

The Leicester City youngster claimed his treble for England U17s against Cyprus on Saturday, as the Young Lions ran out 4-1 winners in their opening European Championship qualifier.

And he produced it in perfect fashion, finishing with his head, right and left foot – although he admits he’s still working on his aerial ability.

Cyprus 1-4 England

European U17 Championship
First Round Qualifier
Saturday 25 October 2014
Kouklia Community Stadium, Paphos

"I can’t really describe it, there’s no better feeling than scoring a goal," he told TheFA.com.

"I’m so proud to score my first hat-trick for England – and it’s my first of the season. It came at a good time and I’m just happy it’s helped us to get the three points.

"I was pleased with the header – although I’m still trying to improve it.

"But the last goal was my favourite. James Yates played it through between the full-back and centre-half, I’ve run onto it and dropped it back and finished it [at the] near post."

"I should have had four though. Jacob Maddox went through and played it to me on the edge of the box, I saw the 'keeper wasn’t in his goal but they had two players on the line. I knew I couldn’t get it in if I hit it low, so I went for the top corner – I was gutted when it hit the bar."

With several forwards forced to miss the trip to Cyprus with injury, Peacock put his faith in the scoring talents of Ndukwu, and the 16-year-old says he is happy to continue leading the line.

"The thing is I’m not a striker, but if I get played there then I’ll do a job," he added.

"I’d love to keep on scoring, but firstly I’ve got to try and ensure I stay in the team and that we qualify for the European Championship."

He continued: "I usually play out on the left wing, but I don’t mind playing up front.

"John told me we were short after the injuries, and that he wasn’t sure whether to bring someone else in or use what he had.

"I’d been training well, and I scored a lot in our first training session and I said that I’d be happy to play that position."

Ndukwu will be hoping to add to his three goals when England face Macedonia on Monday. Follow @England on Twitter for updates from the match, kick-off 1pm.

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer in Paphos, Cyprus