Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott lit up Goodison Park as England U21s eased previous Northern Eire 3-0 on Tuesday.
Reds team-mate Tyler Morton, on mortgage at Hull, opened the scoring together with his first for the U21s. It leaves them second in Group F, three factors behind Ukraine who beat Azerbaijan 1-0.
In what appears to be like more and more more likely to be a straight shootout for the group win, the pair play one another within the penultimate sport in October, and the Younger Lions are within the uncommon place of taking part in catch-up.
It’s clearly a chase they will obtain and, whereas boss Lee Carsley will say in any other case, the final sport together with his children till March was a stroll after they dominated from the off, the gulf in school apparent.
Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite, captain on residence turf, was the primary to waste a good opening when he failed to attach with Tino Livramento’s knock-back as England struggled to seek out an early well beyond the strong Northern Eire backline, marshalled by Ruairi McConville and Michael Forbes.
Noni Madueke curled extensive after 20 minutes and Jay Stansfield miscued a half-volley from Hayden Hackney’s cross however they had been half-chances, moderately than the Younger Lions slicing via their opponents.
They continued to dominate and press, James Trafford a spectator in aim, and Elliott shot extensive however the killer contact continued to elude the hosts – till Northern Eire lastly wilted underneath the strain after 31 minutes.
That it got here from a misplaced cross mattered little as Madueke’s centre evaded Stansfield however was solely cleared to Morton on the sting of the realm and the midfielder drilled low into the nook.
From there, an England victory was hardly ever unsure. With out Cole Palmer and Rico Lewis, elevated to the senior squad final week, they had been maybe lacking a zipper centrally however Madueke and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens provided sufficient on the flanks.
Certainly, Chelsea’s Madueke teed up Hackney to shoot over earlier than Elliott doubled the lead after 50 minutes.
The Liverpool participant was clattered by Terry Devlin 25 yards out earlier than exacting good revenge by bending a free-kick into the underside nook.
Madueke was denied by Josh Clarke as England hunted a 3rd and it was Elliott who discovered it with 10 minutes left. The 20-year-old ran onto Morton’s move, exposing an area within the Northern Eire midfield, and produced a effective chip to lob the onrushing Clarke.
There was nonetheless time for Elliott to hunt a hat-trick however he was thwarted by a effective Clarke save.
Carsley challenges Elliott to earn common Liverpool place
Elliott now has 5 targets in Group F, with England second behind Ukraine, and Carsley needs to see extra of the identical.
He mentioned: “It is necessary he hold scoring and helping as a result of he’ll be that form of participant.
“His stats and knowledge for us are very, very excessive by way of his attacking actions across the field, the quantity of probabilities he creates for different gamers however extra importantly, his work fee and the best way he presses the ball.
“He has to maintain scoring and helping, it is a massive a part of his sport. An important factor for lots of the gamers is simply staying within the race.
“Ensuring you retain your self match, ensuring your perspective is in the proper place and also you’re attempting to make your self selectable.
“Then, whenever you get the chance, taking it. To be a younger participant and to play within the Premier League week in, week out is a giant ask so ensuring you are placing your self ready to try this is a giant factor.
“He is come into camp wanting actually match, actually sharp. He is doing the proper issues. That is all he can do. When he is come on for Liverpool he is made a very good affect and I see that persevering with.”