Internationals: England U19s hit six in opening qualifier

Three of our young players featured as England recorded a big victory in their opening qualifier for next summer’s European Under-19 Championship.

In the first of three matches in six days in Bulgaria, Paul Simpson’s side thumped Faroe Islands 6-0 as they started the defence of their European title in emphatic fashion. Trevoh Chalobah and Reece James (pictured top) started in defence, the former as captain, with Mason Mount a second-half introduction from the bench. Dujon Sterling was an unused substitute. All four were in Georgia in July, along with Jacob Maddox and Jay Dasilva, as England were crowned champions of Europe for their age group.

Although they dominated from the first whistle against Faroe Islands, it was far from plain sailing in the first half for the young Lions. Eddie Nketiah broke the deadlock after 23 minutes, the first of four goals for the Arsenal striker.

His second came around the hour mark before he converted a penalty for his hat-trick. Sunderland’s Elliot Embleton made it 4-0 and substitute Ben Brereton added a fifth before Nketiah rounded off the scoring in the final minute, with James claiming an excellent assist.

The result marks an impressive start to qualification with games against Iceland on Saturday and Bulgaria next Tuesday to follow. The top two in each group advance to the elite stage of qualification next spring, with eight sides making it to the finals in Finland next July.

Elsewhere, Marcin Bulka started and kept a clean sheet as Poland Under-18s beat their Sweden counterparts 1-0 in a friendly. Between the same nations at the Under-19 age group, Joseph Colley started and skippered the Swedes as they were beaten 1-0.