A ruthless England Under-17s got their European Championship qualification campaign off to a dream start as they struck eight times without reply past San Marino on Tuesday.
Steve Cooper’s side flew out the traps and had a five goal advantage at the break thanks to goals from Niall Ennis, Jonathan Leko, Reiss Nelson, Jaden Brown and Samuel Shashoua.
And they refused to give their opponents in Portugal any respite after the break as Shashoua, Dennis Adeniran and Adam Lewis added a further three strikes.
England 8-0 San Marino
European U17s Championship First Round Qualifiers Tuesday 29 September Febres Sports Complex, Febres, Portugal
England got off to a flying start and Edward Francis almost gave the Young Lions the lead inside two minutes when his effort from Nelson’s corner thundered against the crossbar, but he and his team-mates would not have a long wait before the goals started flowing.
Wolves forward Ennis opened the scoring in the sixth minute and it was 2-0 just five minutes later as Jonathan Leko tapped home following good work from Nelson who had weaved through the defence before firing the ball across goal.
Leko then repaid the favour for Nelson as he teed up the Arsenal man for a third before the goalscorer provided the assist for Jaden Brown to run on and stroke the ball into the bottom corner past the helpless goalkeeper Nicola Antonelli.
The bewildered shotstopper did manage to deny Ennis his second with a smart save just before the half hour mark, but he could do nothing about the stunning fifth. Tottenham’s Samuel Shashoua stole the ball from a defender inside the San Marino half before smashing an unstoppable strike into the top corner.
Brown, Leko, Trevoh Chalobah and Shashoua all went close to extending the advantage before the break, but the lead would remain at five as the official blew the whistle to allow Antonelli and his defenders some respite.
Cooper made two changes at the break as Leko and Ennis were replaced by Liverpool’s Adam Lewis and Newcastle United’s Mackenzie Heaney, but the goals continued to flow as Shashoua grabbed his second two minutes after the restart following another Nelson assist.
There was then a debut goal for Fulham midfielder Dennis Adeniran who got on the end of a Shashoua free-kick to make it seven.
Lewis completed the scoring in the 49th minute to ensure Cooper's side made it a convincing start to their group.
The Young Lions face Armenia, who were defeated 7-0 by hosts Portugal later in the day, in their next qualifier on Thursday at 2pm.
England (4-2-3-1): 1 Jared Thompson (Chelsea); 5 Trevoh Chalobah (Chelsea, captain), 17 Jordan Williams (Huddersfield), 6 Edward Francis (Manchester City), 3 Jaden Brown (Tottenham); 18 Dennis Adeniran (Fulham), 4 Andre Dozzell (Ipswich Town); 7 Jonathan Leko (West Brom), 14 Samuel Shashoua (Tottenham), 10 Reiss Nelson (Arsenal); 9 Niall Ennis (Wolves)
Subs: 11 Mackenzie Heaney (Newcastle United) for Ennis 41, 8 Adam Lewis (Liverpool) for Leko 41, 2 Vashon Neufville (West Ham) for Nelson 55
Subs not used: 13 Nicholas Hayes (Ipswich Town), 12 Diego Lattie (Manchester City), 15 Elliot Embleton (Sunderland)
Goals: Ennis 6, Leko 11, Nelson 16, Brown 21, Shashoua 30, 42, Adeniran 47, Lewis 49
Head coach: Steve Cooper
San Marino (5-3-2): 1 Nicola Antonelli; 2 Alvarez Samuel Averhoff, 17 Enrico Stacchini, 7 Matteo Fortunati, 5 Giacomo Conti, 8 Marco Frisoni; 3 Mattia Ceccaroli, 13 Diego Moretti, 4 Riccardo Colonna; 9 Cristian Gatti (Captain), 18 David Tomassini.
Subs: 11 Mattia Michelotti for Ceccaroli 41, 15 Nicola Nanni for Averhoff 41
Subs not used: 12 Davide Colonna, 6 Marco Cupi, 10 Nicolo Leardini, 14 Matteo Moretti, 16 Andrea Rossi
Bookings: Stacchini 46
Head coach: Floriano Sperindio