England Under-21s matchwinner Lewis Baker backs squad

Friday 20 May 2016
Lewis Baker and Cauley Woodrow in action for England Under-21s

Lewis Baker helped England Under-21s make the perfect start to the Toulon Tournament as his goal secured victory over Portugal.

The Chelsea midfielder netted from close range on Thursday evening to give the Three Lions a win in the first of four Group B matches.

And the 21-year-old could have had more than one goal to his name, after seeing three first-half efforts saved by Portugal and Manchester United keeper Joel Pereira.

England 1-0 Portugal

Toulon Tournament
Group B
Thursday 19 May 2016
Stade Leo Lagrange, Toulon
Live on BT Sport

"I was glad to get one, but we got the three points and that was the main thing," said Baker, who spent the season on loan with Dutch outfit Vitesse Arnhem.

"It was a difficult game in the conditions with the wind, but we pulled through to get the goal that we needed for the three points and we start off the tournament with a win.

"We could have played a bit better, but with the conditions we did our best and our best was good enough today."

Gareth Southgate’s squad now have three days to wait before they play their next game against Guinea on Monday.

That match kick-starts a run of three fixtures with Paraguay and Japan in just five days, with the hope of reaching the Final in Avignon on Sunday 29 May should they finish top of the group.

With a 20-man squad at his disposal in France, head coach Southgate has already said he will be changing his team for each game to share the workload and that’s a philosophy that Baker is fully on board with.

"We’ve got the squad to change things about," he added. 

"As we saw, the subs came on and made a difference and it’s the same throughout the squad – we have a good strength in depth and that’s what we’re going to need.

"We’ll be able to rest up tomorrow [Friday], maybe head down to the beach or play some golf with the boys and then we’ll be back at it on Saturday."

By Nicholas Veevers in Toulon, France