Swift, Southwood, Loader and Oxford all feature for Young LionsThere was a quartet of Royals in action at youth level for England on Monday and Tuesday this week – all four started in games across different age groups, and all four claimed victories!
John Swift (U21), Luke Southwood (U20), Reece Oxford (U19) and Danny Loader (U17) were all named on the teamsheets with various prizes on offer.
Here’s how the youngsters got on…
John Swift – Denmark U21 0-4 England U21
Midfield man John Swift returned to the starting fold for England’s Under-21s by playing the duration in a 4-0 friendly win in Randers.
After making a late appearance from the bench last week, replacing Harry Winks in a defeat to Germany, the Royals midfielder – who has been shortlisted for the EFL’s Young Player of the Year award – was named as a starter for Aidy Boothroyd’s side.
Parity lasted just ten minutes before Ruben Loftus-Cheek slotted in a low cross, and Brighton man Solly March picked his spot from a narrow angle to double the lead before the quarter-hour mark.
Cauley Woodrow made it three on the hour, before Loftus-Cheek added his second and England’s fourth as preparations for the summer’s European Championships in Poland began to take place.
Luke Southwood – Senegal U20 0-2 England U20
Goalkeeper Luke Southwood kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 victory for England’s Under-20s against Senegal, sealing the Young Lions’ Four Nations triumph after a draw against Portugal and a win over host nation France in the previous week.
The Royals stopper had to watch on in the first two games as Kilmarnock’s Newcastle loanee Freddie Woodman tended the net in the opener against Portugal, before Manchester United goalie Dean Henderson was picked to meet France.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Dominic Solanke each struck early for Paul Simpson’s side, and Southwood ensured that his shut-out would remain intact with an impressive acrobatic stop a few minutes before the interval.
The challenge now is to be in Simpson’s squad for the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea next summer – England are pooled with six-time winners Argentina, Guinea, and the host nation.
Reece Oxford – England U19 5-1 Belarus U19
Our West Ham loanee Reece Oxford played over an hour for the Young Lions at St George’s Park, as England’s Under-19s made it three wins from three to comfortably secure a place at next summer’s European Championships in Georgia.
The result mattered little, as wins at the national training centre against Norway and Spain had ensured that England would be at the tournament.
But Oxford’s England managed to come from behind to make it three from three – Vladislav Mukhamedov gave the visitors a lead, but Man City pair Lukas Nmecha and Isaac Buckley-Ricketts had completed a turnaround midway through the first half. Spurs youngster Marcus Edwards added a third, and Arsenal’s Chris Willock scored either side of Oxford’s substitution for Chelsea’s Trevor Chalobah in the 66th minute.
England are joined in the finals by Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Sweden, and host nation Georgia.
Danny Loader – Bosnia-Herzegovina U17 0-1 England U17
England’s Under-17s also completed a clean sweep of wins in their three Elite Round qualifiers in Bosnia, sealing their place in next summer’s Euros in Croatia.
A 5-3 victory over Czech Republic and a 4-0 triumph over Slovenia meant England’s progress to next summer’s tournament in the Balkans was assured, and a 1-0 victory in Bijeljina over the group hosts on Tuesday ensured the Young Lions would top the group too.
Royals Academy forward Danny Loader was named in the starting XI, but it was Newcastle defender Lewis Gibson that grabbed the game’s only goal in the 15th minute.
15 other nations will join the Young Lions in next summer’s tournament; that includes debutants in Norway and Faroe Islands, but reigning champs Portugal were unlucky to miss out as the lowest-ranked runners-up.