Slick display from Canaries ace Aarons as assist helps England U21s thrash Austria
- Credit: PA
Norwich City starlet Max Aarons proved he belonged in the company of England’s best young talent with a slick role in the under-21s’ demolition of Austria at Stadium MK this evening.
Aarons played a prominent role as the Young Lions roasted Austria 5-1 to take over at the top of Group Three in qualifying for the 2021 European Championship finals in Slovenia and Hungary, setting up the opening goal.
Eddie Nketiah's hat-trick and a brace from Chelsea star Callum Hudson-Odoi did the damage as the hosts cruised to an emphatic qualifying victory.
The 19-year-old won his fourth cap, on home soil, having grown up in Milton Keynes, and showed his pace in just the second minute to dart infield and find Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden as an attack began.
Aarons had penalty calls waved away in the ninth minute, after Foden had picked him out on the right. He pushed into the box and crossed low but Joe Willock couldn't connect cleanly with his shot and Foden found the Canaries teen to keep the move alive, who was bundled over but the referee wasn't interested.
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The right-back bagged an assist in the 12th minute though, as the Young Lions claimed the lead. Bristol City defender Lloyd Kelly switched a lovely ball from the left of defence, playing Aarons in behind the Austria defence, and the City starlet's low cross was volleyed into the roof of the net by Hudson-Odoi.
There was a nervy moment in the 24th minute, as the Norwich ace was clipped late as he cleared his line, yet after brief treatment he was fine to carry on - a particular relief having missed two Premier League games with an ankle knock recently, picked up when last on England U21 duty.
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The hosts were 4-0 up at the break and enjoying themselves, with Aarons producing nice flicks to complete one-twos with Foden and Willock.
He also showed his defensive instincts in the 37th minute, just as it looked like he'd been outmuscled by Austria skipper Kevin Danso, but tackling back to prevent a cross.
Aarons' cross from the right played a part in the third goal, just evading everyone in the box, but being turned back into the middle by Burnley winger Dwight McNeil to allow Eddie Nketiah to nod in - and there was also a big cheer for the Norwich man shortly before the break, as a nice bit of skill set Joe Willock on the attack.
He was switched to right-back in a 4-4-2 after the break and, with England cruising, was withdrawn on the hour with his team 4-0 up and no apparent injury issue.
That added to the opening 45 minutes of a 2-2 friendly draw in Slovenia on Friday, amounting to a positive international break ahead of City's return to Premier League action at Bournemouth on Saturday.