Men's Under 21s
Men's Under 21s

Phil Foden's double helps Young Lions to U21 EURO qualifying victory over Kosovo

Monday 09 Sep 2019
Phil Foden celebrates his first goal of the evening against Kosovo

England U21s made it two wins from two in their new U21 EURO qualifying campaign, as Phil Foden’s double proved enough to beat Kosovo in Hull.

The Young Lions kicked-off their group games last week with a 3-2 win against Turkey, and they built on that result to move level with their opponents in what has the makings of being a thrilling group campaign.

England 2-0 Kosovo
  • UEFA European U21 Championship
  • Group 3 Qualifier
  • Monday 9 September 2019
  • KCOM Stadium, Hull
  • Live on BT Sport

Boss Aidy Boothroyd had warned his squad coming into this game that Kosovo would provide a real threat in the group and he wasn’t wrong, with Rafet Prekazi’s side ensuring this game was played on a knife-edge throughout the second half until Foden’s stoppage-time second.

England enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and created opportunities, but with only the Manchester City youngster’s first-half goal to show for it and a Kosovan side looking dangerous on the break, there were a few nervy moments.

But Foden was on the spot again in the 93rd minute with a second close-range opportunist goal to ensure England remain level with both Kosovo and Austria in Group 3.

England broke the deadlock after 25 minutes, with a well-worked move seeing Tom Davies slip a pass across the area for Steven Sessegnon. The Fulham defender’s shot flew past Kosovan keeper Smakiqi only to be blocked on the line by Xhemajli. It fell out to Foden, who made no mistake from close range to smash home the opener.

The starting line-up in Hull for the Euro Qualifier against Kosovo

The goal gave England a boost and a shot of confidence, as they enjoyed their best spell of the game and could’ve doubled their lead with Davies flicking a header over the bar from Foden’s corner.

And Nelson was then denied himself, after swivelling to strike a low volley at goal only to see Smakiqi to make an equally smart save.

Kosovo really should’ve been level at the break though, when they nicked possession in a dangerous position and quickly set Lirim Kastrati away on the left. He delivered an inch-perfect cross for substitute Arbnor Muja, who somehow guided his effort against the bar and over from inside the six-yard box.

After the break, Eddie Nketiah was inches away from making it 2-0 as he struck a low shot across goal and wide as England looked to build on their lead.

Todd Cantwell, who came off the bench to make his U21s bow, then became the latest player to be denied by Smakiqi, as his well-struck volley was turned around the post.

Eddie Nketiah sees a shot go wide of the post as England search for a second

While it remained 1-0, there was always a danger that Kosovo might claw themselves back in the game, as they looked to catch their hosts on the counter.

And they almost did just that with little over ten minutes to go, when Kastrati’s cross from the right reached Valdrin Mustafa in the middle only for a heroic block from Max Aarons to deny him a certain goal. The Norwich City man limped off as a result, replaced by another debutant in James Justin.

England could breathe again in stoppage time though, when the win was secured thanks to Foden’s second. This time it was Rhian Brewster who created the opening with a strong run down the left and when a combination of Kosovan defenders failed to clear, Foden was there to poke a shot home to seal the points.

Next up for Boothroyd’s side is a trip to face Slovenia in a friendly, before they clash with group leaders Austria in Milton Keynes on Tuesday 15 October.

England: 1 Aaron Ramsdale (AFC Bournemouth), 2 Max Aarons (Norwich City), 4 Trevoh Chalobah (Huddersfield Town, loan from Chelsea), 5 Ben Godfrey (Norwich City) (c), 6 Tom Davies (Everton), 7 Reiss Nelson (Arsenal), 8 Morgan Gibbs-White (Wolverhampton Wanderers), 9 Eddie Nketiah (Leeds United, loan from Arsenal), 10 Phil Foden (Manchester City), 11 Steven Sessegnon (Fulham), 15 Marc Guehi (Chelsea)

Substitutes: 17 Todd Cantwell (Norwich City) for Gibbs-White 61, 23 Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) for Nelson 61, 19 Rhian Brewster (Liverpool) for Nketiah 76, 18 James Justin (Leicester City) for Aarons 80

Substitutes not used: 12 Omar Richards (Reading), 16 Oliver Skipp (Tottenham Hotspur), 20 Eberechi Eze (QPR), 22 Ellery Balcombe (Brentford)

Head coach: Aidy Boothroyd

Goals: Phil Foden 24, 90+3

Kosovo: 1 Smakiqi (GK), 2 Xhemajli, 3 Kastrati, 4 Kolgeci (C), 5 Hajrizi, 6 Zekaj, 7 Gashi, 8 Abedini, 10 Kastrati, 19 Daku, 22 Mema

Substitutes: 11 Muja for Mema 34, 9 Valdrin Mustafa for Daku 46, 14 Blendi Baftiu for Gashi 65

Substitutes not used: 12 Ardit Nika (GK), 11 Arbnor Muja, 15 Leard Sadriu, 17 Uran Bislimi, 18 Leonat Vitija, 20 Donat Hasani, 23 Shkelqim Sadiku

Head coach: Rafet Prekazi

By Nicholas Veevers