Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott lit up Goodison Park as England U21s eased previous Northern Eire 3-0 on Tuesday.
He now has 5 targets in Euro 2025 qualifying whereas Reds team-mate Tyler Morton, on mortgage at Hull, opened the scoring along 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 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 enjoying catch-up.
It’s clearly a chase they will obtain and, whereas boss Lee Carsley will say in any other case, the final sport along 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 house turf, was the primary to waste an honest opening when he failed to attach with Tino Livramento’s knock-back as England struggled to search out an early well beyond the sturdy Northern Eire backline, marshalled by Ruairi McConville and Michael Forbes.
Noni Madueke curled broad after 20 minutes and Jay Stansfield miscued a half-volley from Hayden Hackney’s cross however they had been half-chances, somewhat than the Younger Lions slicing by way of their opponents.
They continued to dominate and press, James Trafford a spectator in objective, and Elliott shot broad however the killer contact continued to elude the hosts – till Northern Eire lastly wilted underneath the stress 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 doubtful. 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 excellent 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 superb chip to lob the onrushing Clarke.
There was nonetheless time for Elliott to hunt a hat-trick however he was thwarted by a superb Clarke save.