Lee Carsley’s England U21s welcomed France to the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon, just days after Folarin Balogun withdrew from the squad through injury, amidst rumours that he may be preparing to play for the USA senior team.
ENG: Trafford; Aarons, Colwill, Cresswell, Spence; Gomes, Skipp; Smith Rowe, Elliott, Gibbs-White; Archer
FRA: Chevalier; Larouci, Badishile, Simakan, Gendrey; Koné, Lepenant; Adli, Cherki, Olise; Abline
England seemed less than impressive throughout the first half in Leicester, with France dominating for large periods of the opening 45 minutes. Kouadio Koné came closest to opening the scoring before the break, as he forced Manchester United loanee James Trafford into a brilliant save that saw his long-range strike tipped over the crossbar.
The Young Lions improved after the interval, with Emile Smith Rowe finding the opener in the 50th minute, as he managed to get onto the end of Morgan Gibbs-White’s cross and divert it past Chevalier with a diving header.
Noni Madueke, who recently moved to Chelsea from PSV Eindhoven, bagged England’s second less than ten minutes later – firing home at the back post after receiving the ball from Curtis Jones. England’s third goal followed in quick succession, as Madueke provided the assist for a sensational back heeled finish from Curtis Jones.
Madueke wasn’t finished there though, and picked up yet another assist in the 86th minute after he found Aston Villa’s Jacob Ramsey with a well-placed through ball – with the young Villan powering his effort between the legs of Lucas Chevalier.
Madueke’s great performance off the bench, which saw him score once and assist twice, earned him Man Of The Match – a feat he’ll look to recreate on Tuesday when Lee Carsley’s side host Croatia at Fulham’s Craven Cottage.