International

James makes England debut, Batshuayi bags Belgium goal

Chelsea have a new England international in our squad following Reece James’s debut for the Three Lions at Wembley on Thursday night.

The 20-year-old was a late addition to Gareth Southgate’s squad this week, elevated from the Under-21s and the first time he had been called into the senior party. He took a step further when he was introduced in the 58th-minute of a 3-0 win over Wales in a friendly.

No Chelsea players started the game for England but Mason Mount was introduced at the same time as James. Ethan Ampadu, currently on loan at Sheffield United, began the match for Wales.

In the first half, England went 1-0 up on 26 minutes through a close-range header from Everton’s in-form striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin on his debut, from a cross by Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, but they had been largely matched by the Welsh. Ampadu, playing in midfield, was tidy in possession before the break and brought the ball forward from deep on occasions but his game became more difficult when England upped theirs after the interval.
 

Early in the second half, another goal was scored from inside the six-yard box to put the home side 2-0 up, Wolves defender Conor Coady getting his boot to a Kieran Trippier free-kick with the visitors’ marking again in question.

Wales hit the post from an offside run by Rabbi Matondo and Ampadu picked up a booking for a foul on Grealish shortly before he was withdrawn by Ryan Giggs, and just before the two Chelsea players were introduced by England.

Southampton striker Danny Ings scored the Three Lions’ third on 63 minutes with an overhead kick from corner headed back his way.
 

England continued to press forward with Mount busy. From his pass, another debutant, Arsenal full-back Bukayo Saka had a deflected shot saved, as were late efforts from Ings and substitute James Ward-Prowse. Reece James saw his fair share of the ball as he pressed forward down the right.

England now play two UEFA Nations League games at Wembley, against Belgium on Sunday and Denmark on Wednesday.

In another friendly international on Thursday evening, Michy Batshuayi looked to have scored the winner in a home match against Ivory Coast, only for the African nation to make it 1-1 from the penalty spot with three minutes left on the clock.

The Chelsea striker, back on loan at Crystal Palace, started the match and was quick to react to turn the ball in after the keeper had saved his initial volley from a cross on 53 minutes. Batshuayi has now netted seven goals in his past five starts for his nation.
 

He had been replaced by Christian Benteke by the time AC Milan’s Franck Kessie equalised. As well as playing England, Belgium as take on Iceland during this international break.

Earlier in the day, England Under-19s began a match against Scotland at St. George's Park but it was abandoned in the first half as a precaution in line with COVID protocol. Dynel Simeu, Levi Colwill and Lewis Bate are in the England squad.
 

MORE FROM CHELSEA