Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott lit up Goodison Park as England U21s eased previous Northern Ireland 3-0 on Tuesday.
He now has 5 objectives in Euro 2025 qualifying whereas 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 seems to be more and more doubtless to be a straight shootout for the group win, the pair play one another within the penultimate sport in October, and the Young Lions are within the uncommon place of taking part in catch-up.
It is clearly a chase they will obtain and, whereas boss Lee Carsley will say in any other case, the final sport together with his kids till March was a stroll after they dominated from the off, the gulf in school apparent.
Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite, captain on dwelling turf, was the primary to waste a good opening when he failed to join with Tino Livramento’s knock-back as England struggled to discover an early well past the strong Northern Ireland backline, marshalled by Ruairi McConville and Michael Forbes.
Noni Madueke curled huge after 20 minutes and Jay Stansfield miscued a half-volley from Hayden Hackney’s cross however they had been half-chances, slightly than the Young Lions slicing by their opponents.
They continued to dominate and press, James Trafford a spectator in aim, and Elliott shot huge however the killer contact continued to elude the hosts – till Northern Ireland lastly wilted beneath 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 not often doubtful. Without 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 supplied sufficient on the flanks.
Indeed, 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 cross, exposing an area within the Northern Ireland midfield, and produced a positive chip to lob the onrushing Clarke.
There was nonetheless time for Elliott to hunt a hat-trick however he was thwarted by a positive Clarke save.