England’s Under-21s put on a phenomenal show of goalscoring as Noni Madueke and Harvey Elliott both struck braces in the 9-1 rout against Serbia on Thursday night at the City Ground. The Chelsea and Liverpool youngsters were in fine form as they scored twice, along with Hull City starlet Jadon Philogene, in a comprehensive win in their European Championship qualifier.
Serbia actually took the lead on 27 minutes when Vladimir Lucic put the visitors in front, something that may be forgotten in the history books after the way England responded.
Indeed, the early goal only seemed to spark the hosts into life as they scored three times in the space of 11 minutes through Philogene, Liam Delap and Elliott to turn the game on its head just before the break.
And Carsley’s talented team came out of the blocks in the second half in relentless form. It wasn’t long before Chelsea’s Madueke, 21, made it 4-1 on 53 minutes, embarking on a mazy run and beating three men before striking low into the bottom corner.
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The 21-year-old grabbed his second of the night only six minutes later before Philogene – a £5million signing for Hull from Aston Villa in August – followed his lead just after the hour mark to give England a comprehensive tennis scoreline, let alone a football one.
Serbia were the architects of their own downfall as Luka Subotic scored an own goal in the final minute before substitute Jonathan Rowe – who replaced the excellent Madueke – scored on his U21 debut.
And Elliott’s stoppage-time effort, his second of the game, wrapped up a convincing win for England at Nottingham Forest’s ground as the Liverpool man sent another message to Gareth Southgate with his performance.
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It means the U21 Euro winners, who claimed the trophy in Georgia in the summer, now have two wins from two so far in their Euro 2025 qualifying group.
They are top of Group F after their 9-1 success followed their 3-0 win over Luxembourg, giving them a substantially more handsome goal difference than Ukraine.
It wasn’t a perfect night for Carsley, however, as Chelsea starlet Cole Palmer was seen limping after the final whistle, causing some concern for the medical staff.
When asked about the injury, the England boss said after the game: “There are a few bumps and bruises and we will monitor Cole but we will not be taking any chances.”
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