Lively night for City duo Aarons and Skipp as England U21s qualify for Euros
- Credit: PA
Norwich City duo Max Aarons and Oliver Skipp were in the thick of the action as the England Under-21s wrapped up European Championship qualification with a 2-1 win over Turkey at Molineux this evening.
Aarons won his ninth cap and moved level third with Kevin Reeves in the list of players to be capped by the Young Lions while with the Canaries, behind Chris Sutton on 13 and Nathan Redmond on 26.
Ben Godfrey was also in Aidy Boothroyd’s starting XI, barely a week since Norwich completed his club record sale to Everton for an initial £25million.
Aarons was being used as the out ball by Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, in a similar fashion to that which he is used to with Tim Krul at City, and that was where England’s opening goal came from in the 17th minute.
The right-back turned the ball infield to Canaries colleague Skipp and the midfielder switched the ball to James Justin on the left, who sent Ryan Sessegnon down the wing, who saw his cross towards Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah deflected into the net by Turkey defender Huseyin Turkmen.
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England thought it was two in the 25th minute but Nketiah’s goal was correctly disallowed for offside, after tenacious play from Skipp had allowed the hosts to counter, with Sessegnon offside when he crossed.
There was more good play from Skipp a few minutes later, flicking past his opponent in the middle and exchanging a one-two with Nketiah before squaring to Dasilva, who threaded Sessegnon into the box, who had gone too early and was thwarted by the linesman.
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It was a lively half for the Canaries loanee and he found himself in the book in the 38th minute, taking a heavy touch near halfway and then pulling back Berat Ozdemir before he could break.
Ramsdale was needed to make a good save just before the break and was tested by a driving shot soon after the break as well, then had to save a penalty in the 53rd minute, after Skipp’s back-pass kept curling away from him. Halil Dervisoglu just beat Ramsdale to the ball but lost control so chucked himself to the floor and the referee bought the dive - only for the Blades number one to drop to his left and save the spot-kick.
Just before that Nketiah had the ball in the net again but Sessegnon had gone just too early with his run and again crossed from an offside position - and soon after Aarons had to deflect a powerful shot from striker Guven Yalcin into the side netting.
Skipp came dangerously close to a second yellow card in the 76th minute after turning into trouble unnecessarily in his own half and clipping Yalcin as he started to push forward and was then beaten in midfield by the same player a few minutes later, being relieved to see Yalcin thump a low shot just wide from 20 yards.
The win should have been wrapped up in the 85th minute after Justin won a clear penalty, only for Nketiah to thump against the post - a goal which would have made him the all-time record scorer for the U21s ahead of Alan Shearer and Francis Jeffers.
But his 14th goal did come in the 88th minute, after Aarons found Sessegnon and the winger threaded Nketiah through, who turned nicely and went through before chipping past the keeper to seal a place at the finals in Hungary and Slovenia next year.
There was time for Turkey to keep it interesting though, with Skipp robbed in the opposition half but no foul given and Dervisoglua making up for his penalty failure by slotting past Ramsdale.
ENGLAND U21s: Ramsdale; Aarons, Godfrey, Guehi, Justin; Bellingham, Skipp, Dasilva (Eze 63); Hudson-Odoi (McNeil 85), Nketiah (C), Sessegnon. Unused subs: Austin (GK), Bursik (GK), Panzo, Davies, B Williams, R Williams, Surridge
Booked: Skipp, Bellingham
Penalty save: Ramsdale (from Dervisoglu, 53)
Penalty miss: Nketiah (hit the post, 83)
- Elsewhere, Danel Sinani scored a late winner in Luxembourg’s 2-1 victory in Montenegro in the Nations League, earning his 26th cap at senior level - following on from a brace in a 2-0 home win over Cyprus in the same competition on Saturday.