Royals forward Danny Loader hit a double for England’s Under-17s in their final group game at the U17 World Cup against Iraq!
The striker played the full fixture in Kolkata and helped the Young Lions to maintain their perfect start to the tournament with a third group victory, seeing off their opponents by a 4-0 scoreline.
After being an unused sub in the first two fixtures, it was Loader’s bow in the tournament – making him the first Reading player to see game-time for England at a World Cup!
Reading’s Academy Manager Lee Herron said: “It is fantastic to see Danny making great strides in an international tournament – is it further proof that our Category 1 Academy is able to develop players who are capable of performing on the biggest stage.
“We continue to make history and scale new heights. Everyone at Reading is following Danny’s progress out in India, and we all wish Danny and England the very best for the knock-out stages.”
Deadlock was broken against Iraq after just 11 minutes – Manchester United forward Angel Gomes turned in a troublesome delivery by Nya Kirby after Loader had slotted a ball wide to the Crystal Palace man.
Jadon Sancho had a spot-kick saved soon after, after Emile Smith Rowe was clobbered in the box, but it was Smith Rowe who doubled the lead after the break with a first-time finish to Gomes’ incisive pass.
And then Loader notched his first of the game just before the hour mark for England’s third, preventing any hope of a fight-back from Iraq. As Steven Sessegnon burst through the ranks, the Royals forward peeled into space to receive a dissecting pass, and coolly rounded the goalkeeper to slot in his first World Cup goal.
The same combination linked up for the fourth and final goal of the game. Loader arced his run to say onside to latch onto Sessegnon’s ball through a narrow gap, and finished sharply for his second and England’s fourth!
Danny and his England teammates now face Japan in the first knock-out game, kicking off at 3.30pm UK time on Tuesday. The winner of Monday’s match between Paraguay and USA would be England’s quarter-final opponent, should they negotiate their way through the Round of 16.