James Maddison was turned into a YouTube star by his father and now the Tottenham man is hoping his next highlight reel can compare to those of the likes of Paul Gascoigne and Wayne Rooney as he targets success with England.

As Maddison rose up through the Coventry academy his story was documented by his dad Gary – who launched his own YouTube channel in 2006 to showcase his son’s burgeoning ability.

The five videos available on the channel – @gazmaddy – have amassed over 175,000 views in total.

Gary had earlier put together compilations of his favourite players, with Maddison glued to the screen as a boy watching edited clips of Gascoigne.

Maddison, 26, admits he is not old enough to remember Gascoigne in his pomp, but his father made up for that.

“My dad used to put football videos together. He is a graphic designer and is good with computers and stuff,” he said.

“He used to put montages together and stuff and Gazza features on a lot of them, so I remember a lot of his clips.”

Maddison has excelled since joining Spurs from Leicester in the summer and has taken on the role of entertainer in the Tottenham team – a tag Gascoigne always enjoyed during his stint at White Hart Lane.

“Growing up, I was a footie fan. Before you become a professional, you are a fan of the game and I loved players who had personality,” he said.

“I loved watching players who had a little bit of cheekiness about them, a little bit more than your bog-standard. I’m not sure what I mean by bog-standard but I like players who show their personality when they play.

“Gazza was a perfect example. For example, something silly… I remember a clip where the cameras are going down the national anthem and it gets to him and he sticks his tongue out and starts messing around with the camera and going all bog-eyed – and I just love that. That’s why I like interacting with fans and showing my personality.

“I like the theatre element of almost being the villain a little bit. That keeps me at my best. That’s how I enjoyed watching it and that’s how enjoy playing it.”

Maddison, who will be aiming to add to his three senior England caps in the upcoming games against Ukraine and Scotland, cited former captain Rooney among a number of more contemporary examples of the players he looks up to.

“I love Wayne Rooney and in more recent times when I started to know a little more about football and we were in the academy and there was more of a realistic chance of becoming a footballer,” he added.

“I loved Philippe Coutinho when he was at Liverpool and David Silva, who had 10 brilliant years at (Manchester) City. Christian Eriksen when he first came to Spurs. I would probably say Rooney was the big one in my childhood. I used to love Wazza.

“Again, he was someone who played with personality. He was a bit more feisty than me – a bit harder into a tackle – but his personality and the way he came through in the way he played. And that’s what I enjoy.”

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Injury, form and fierce competition have limited Maddison to a bit-part playing role on the international stage to date.

After playing down suggestions of any previous rift with manager Gareth Southgate, he admits travelling to the World Cup and not being able to play because of a niggling knee complaint has given him even more reason to feature at Euro 2024.

“It definitely gave me motivation for Germany,” he said of his non-playing stint in Qatar.

“I was so proud to be there representing my country. Gareth gave me a massive compliment as we were leaving. He said he knew it has been tough with the injury and not featuring, but he was really impressed with the way I had carried myself round the group.

“Him putting his arm around me and saying that as we were leaving stuck with me. I made a conscious effort not to be down, even though I was at the World Cup and I wanted to play for England. It has given me a hunger. I just want more and more.

“I’ve been ready for a long time, in my head. But there is so much talent here, such a great squad of players in terms of pure ability and talent. We see it in training every day – the standard is so high and it’s brilliant to be a part of.”

Aurelien Tchouameni and Marcus Thuram left the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2024 dream hanging by a thread as France maintained their perfect start to qualification with a regulation 2-0 win in Paris.

The pair struck either side of half-time at the Parc des Princes to claim a fifth successive Group B victory and leave Ireland with just three points from their first four games, a statistic which means Sunday’s clash with the Netherlands in Dublin could all but decide their fate.

Stephen Kenny’s men were organised and dogged, but with Ousmane Dembele tormenting Enda Stevens to such an extent that he was replaced at half-time and Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann delighting a passionate home crowd, were unable to cause the hosts enough problems with the notable exception of a Chiedozie Ogbene header which prompted a fine save from Mike Maignan.

Much had been made in France ahead of the game of Ireland keeper Gavin Bazunu’s propensity to concede from distance, but there was little he could have done to keep out Tchouameni’s sweetly-struck 19th-minute shot, and he was left exposed as substitute Thuram extended the lead after 48 minutes.

While the outcome in Paris was never likely to define their campaign, June’s defeat in Greece left Ireland up against it and a repeat against the Dutch would effectively extinguish all hope.

France set off in determined fashion, Adrien Rabiot thumping a shot into Bazunu’s midriff from Dembele’s pull-back before John Egan had to make a vital block to keep out Olivier Giroud’s strike after Theo Hernandez had out-stripped the cover down the Irish right.

Mbappe might have done better from the resulting corner, scooping a tame attempt over the top after Adam Idah had taken Griezmann’s corner out of Bazunu’s reach, and the Ireland keeper was relieved to see the Atletico Madrid star’s swinging 15th-minute free-kick smuggled away after it reared up at him off the turf having sailed through a crowded penalty area.

However, he was beaten four minutes later when, after Griezmann had headed down for Dembele, his cross was headed away by Nathan Collins only for Mbappe to recycle the loose ball to Tchouameni, who curled a delicious shot across the Southampton keeper and inside the far post from 25 yards.

Giroud departed injured after going to ground under Egan’s 24th-minute challenge and was replaced by Thuram and with Mbappe dropping deep to pick up possession, the visitors found themselves under almost constant pressure, with Ogbene’s occasional, but largely unsupported, forays down the right their only meaningful outlet.

Bazunu fielded a speculative effort from Mbappe comfortably, but was relieved to see an offside flag come to his rescue after the Paris St Germain star had stabbed a 42nd-minute shot between his legs.

Stevens departed at the break to be replaced by James McClean, but his side fell further behind within three minutes of the restart when, after Mbappe had failed to make the most of a Theo Hernandez cross, Thuram span on the lose ball to rifle into the roof of the net.

With little left to lose, the Republic threw caution to the wind and might have reduced the deficit from Ogbene’s header but for Maignan’s brilliance after Idah had beaten the offside trap, and the Luton striker curled a left-foot shot inches over seconds later as the anxious keeper could only look on.

Ireland’s new-found sense of adventure left them vulnerable at the back and Mbappe’s blushes were spared by a late offside flag after he had missed the target in a one-on-one battle with Bazunu, who then did well to parry another Tchouameni piledriver 23 minutes from time.

Dembele rattled the upright from a tight angle with France in cruise control, and only stout defence, a series of less than effective final balls and a bad miss by Thuram spared the visitors further damage.

Northern Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for Euro 2024 are all but over after they slumped to a fourth consecutive defeat, losing 4-2 to Slovenia in Ljubljana.

Although Isaac Price’s first international goal quickly cancelled out Andraz Sporar’s third-minute strike, Petar Stojanovic’s strike deflected off Jonny Evans to put the hosts back in front in a frantic start to the match, and Benjamin Sesko added a third before the break.

Evans got Northern Ireland back into it with a deflected strike in the 53rd minute, but only briefly as Sporar got his second moments later.

Defeat leaves Northern Ireland three places and seven points off second in Group H going into Sunday’s trip to Kazakhstan, with the dream of heading to Germany next summer effectively dead.

After three straight 1-0 losses Michael O’Neill could again claim his side had not been hugely outplayed, with Conor McMenamin particularly impressing as they created more chances than Slovenia.

But Northern Ireland’s defensive solidity deserted them and they simply do not have the firepower to match the likes of RB Leipzig’s Sesko.

The 20-year-old was involved as Slovenia breached the Northern Ireland defence inside three minutes. Shea Charles missed an interception and Sesko easily flicked the ball into the path of Sporar, who had time to beat the exposed Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

It was a dreadful start, but somehow Northern Ireland roused themselves to equalise with their first goal since the opening qualifier against San Marino in March.

McMenamin and Matty Kennedy – earning his first cap since March 2021 – came into the side as O’Neill stuck to his word to choose players in form at club level, with all but Evans having been regulars in the opening weeks of the season, and both were involved in the equaliser.

McMenamin’s cross from the right was aimed at Kennedy and when his shot was blocked by Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak, it fell for Price to fire in.

But soon after Slovenia were back in front. Stojanovic left Ciaron Brown in a heap as he cut in from the right, with the Sampdoria man’s cross taking a deflection off the luckless Evans to beat Peacock-Farrell as Northern Ireland appealed in vain for a foul.

It was the last involvement for Brown, who became the 17th Northern Ireland player to suffer an injury in this campaign, hobbling off to be replaced by Craig Cathcart – playing his first competitive football since June a day after signing for Belgian club Kortrijk.

McMenamin’s cross narrowly evaded Paddy McNair but it was Slovenia who thought they had a third 10 minutes before half-time when Sesko finished from close range, with the loud celebrations cut short once the stadium DJ belatedly noticed the flag was up for offside and play had resumed.

But Sesko would have his goal before the break. After Kennedy missed a chance to clear, Sesko wriggled away from Evans with his back to goal before hitting a powerful low left-footed strike on the turn to find the corner of the net.

O’Neill sent on Josh Magennis and Conor Washington for Kennedy and Dion Charles at the break but it was Slovenia who threatened again, with Sporar seeing a powerful effort cannon back off the crossbar from close range.

Hope was rekindled in the 53rd minute when a deflected strike from Evans beat the scrambling Oblak.

But that hope lasted barely three minutes before Sporar raced through the centre of the pitch, rounding Peacock-Farrell and rolling the ball into an empty net, and Northern Ireland could not capitalise on late chances for Magennis, McMenamin, and substitute Paul Smyth.

Northern Ireland’s injury curse struck again 15 minutes from time as the substitute Cathcart hobbled off, as if to underline the problem that has dogged Northern Ireland since before this doomed campaign began.

Wales warmed up for their crucial Euro 2024 qualifier in Latvia with a goalless stalemate against South Korea in Cardiff.

Substitute Kieffer Moore went the closest to breaking the deadlock by heading Chris Mepham’s second-half cross against a post.

But Wales failed to secure a morale-boosting victory that under-pressure manager Rob Page craved, and it is now only one win in 13 games either side of a disappointing World Cup for the Dragons.

Page had admitted a first-ever meeting with South Korea was a fixture he could have done without as it came four days before the vital Euros qualifier in Riga.

That comment upset many Wales supporters who had paid for tickets, but many chose to stay away as the Cardiff City Stadium was less than half full with the attendance given as 13,668.

The outcome in Riga will shape the rest of Wales’ Euro campaign – and possibly even Page’s future – with Wales running out of time to make up for June defeats by Armenia and Turkey in the race for automatic qualification.

With Euro group rivals playing on Friday, UEFA regulations stipulated that Wales had to fulfil this date on the international calendar with a friendly.

Page suggested he was not going to risks with his team selection ahead of Latvia and captain Aaron Ramsey sat on the bench for the opening hour.

But Page fielded a stronger line-up than many expected with Brennan Johnson starting just days after his £47.5million move from Nottingham Forest to Tottenham.

Ipswich’s Nathan Broadhead made his first Wales start alongside Johnson in attack. Birmingham midfielder Jordan James also made his maiden start in a three-man midfield.

Tottenham captain Son Heung-min was the star turn for South Korea with Bayern Munich defender Kim Min-jae also sprinkling stardust on the visitors.

South Korea reached the last 16 at the 2022 World Cup but new boss Jurgen Klinsmann is still waiting for a victory since his February appointment, with three draws and two defeats now on his report card.

Wales began brightly and were unfortunate not to take a 13th-minute lead.

Ethan Ampadu and Broadhead combined to find Wilson who, under pressure from Seol Young-woo, forced a smart save from Kim Seung-gyu.

There was a scare for Wales when Ben Davies, skipper for the night in Ramsey’s absence, was unceremoniously chopped down by Lee Jae-sung.

Kim Min-jae, the 6ft 3in centre-half known as ‘The Monster’ also sent Johnson sprawling to the ground with a blow to the ribs and was grateful that Scottish referee Willie Collum was in a lenient mood.

South Korea enjoyed nearly 60 per cent possession on a night when the sultry conditions saw cooling breaks taken midway through each half.

But that did not translate into danger around the home goal until the closing moments of the first period.

Lee Ki-je’s brilliant cross just evaded Hong Hyun-seok at the far before Son forced Danny Ward to hold his 25-yard attempt under the crossbar.

Wilson had another effort saved before Wales introduced Joe Morrell and Moore – both suspended for the Latvia qualifier – for Ampadu and Johnson at half-time.

The worry for Wales was that Son was starting to roam and dictate matters, the Spurs striker driving over from 20 yards before Hwang In-beom was similarly off target.

But Wales came within inches of taking the lead after 66 minutes.

Mepham crossed to Moore who headed against the post with Ramsey, who had only recently joined the action, unable to turn the ball home.

Broadhead saw his 20-yard attempt deflected wide and Joe Rodon rose well at the resulting a corner but his hopes of a first Wales goal were ended by a full-length Kim save.

Moore headed over with the game’s final touch, but there were more players going down with cramp than chances created in the closing minutes as a rather predictable draw was played out.

Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny is refusing to bemoan his luck as he prepares to take on the might of France without his emerging star striker.

Irish fans were licking their lips in anticipation when 18-year-old Evan Ferguson plundered a Premier League hat-trick for Brighton against Newcastle on Saturday evening just days before he was due at the Parc des Princes for a showdown with the World Cup runners-up.

However, a knee injury has forced his withdrawal from the squad for the game and the home clash with Netherlands which follows it on Sunday, much to the disappointment of Kenny, whose reign has been punctuated by misfortune ever since he lost frontmen Adam Idah and Aaron Connolly to what proved to be false positive Covid-19 tests in the run up to their Euro 2020 play-off in Slovakia.

Asked if he was due a change of luck, the manager said: “No, I don’t really look at it like that. I’m very privileged to manage Ireland, very privileged.

“The attacking players that are missing, five of them – Michael Obafemi, Troy Parrott, Mikey Johnston, Callum Robinson and Evan Ferguson, of course – the five players are missing, but because we’ve given 18 players their debut in that period over the last two years, it’s increased the level of squad depth and it means that we still have a strong team.

“I’m happy with the team that we have tomorrow night, very happy with it and I’m happy with the options that we have.

“We know many people don’t give us much of a chance – I understand why, we understand that. But we’re going to give ourselves every opportunity to prepare well and perform to the level that we need to to put in a really strong performance tomorrow night.”

The odds are stacked against Ireland as they attempt to resurrect their Group B campaign, which so far has yielded just three points from as many games, a run which includes a 1-0 home defeat by the French in Dublin.

Didier Deschamps’ men are ranked second by FIFA, while the Republic have slipped to 53rd, and they realistically need to win at least one of the two games this week if they are to keep their campaign alive.

Asked if the trip to Paris was his toughest game to date as Ireland boss, Kenny said: “I would say it is, yes. I’d say that’s most likely accurate.

“France have been to the last two World Cup finals. They won the World Cup, then obviously lost last year on penalties to win two World Cups in a row, so they’re definitely within the two best teams in the world, if not the best.

“We obviously respect their talent and to come into their backyard, into their home arena and play them presents a stiff challenge and one that we understand is difficult.

“But we’re very excited by it as well and we understand that it’s an opportunity for us.”

Skipper John Egan is expected to be fit after shaking off knee and ankle problems, while Andrew Omobamidele, who was drafted in as cover for the Sheffield United man, has now joined the squad in Paris after being given compassionate leave following the death of his grandfather.

Scotland will stay humble as they look to battle past Cyprus and keep themselves in the driving seat to qualify for Euro 2024, according to former national team striker Charlie Nicholas.

Steve Clarke’s men are aiming for a fifth straight Group A win in Larnaca on Friday night, which, if other results go their way next week, could see Scotland’s place in the finals confirmed.

Nicholas, who played for Scotland at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, believes Clarke will not allow any thoughts of having already booked a ticket to Germany next summer as his team focus on showing the required mentality in the heat of the AEK Arena.

“This is the first time I can ever recall being in a position of comfort in a group like this. It is a kind of weird experience,” Nicholas told the PA news agency.

“Steve Clarke’s business as a manager is being serious, so the boys will stay humble – and I do think they will get it tough in Cyprus.

“Now this becomes the most important one, because it would give us a really nice buffer if we were to win it, but it will be tight.

“It will be in the heat, which obviously doesn’t complement us, but we have put ourselves in a great position so we must not let it slip now.”

Scotland’s assistant coach John Carver has branded the current squad the “most focused group” he has ever worked with, having seen them beat Spain at Hampden Park in March and then win away in Norway.

Nicholas added: “Looking at these guys, what you have got is a lot of important players playing at top football clubs – even with Kieran Tierney’s move, it is to a top club in Spain (at Real Sociedad).

“There is a lot of knowledge in there and also with that desire – they will be told the whole truth when it comes to these qualifying games, because we are so close to it.

“If we go and win in Cyprus, that doesn’t guarantee us (qualification), but it more or less does – and in Scotland we have learned never to take too much for granted.

“They are a well-respected group with what they stand for together. There is no faking with these guys, they are bang on the money and know where they are trying to get to.”

On September 17, Nicholas will be joining broadcaster Jeff Stelling when he takes on a 34th marathon Football March for Prostate Cancer UK, from Wembley to Wycombe Wanderers, in honour of the late Bill Turnbull.

Former Celtic and Arsenal striker Nicholas lost his father, Chic, to prostate cancer, which affects one in eight men, in December 2009.

The Scot stressed the importance of early diagnosis, which brings with it more options for advanced treatments such as radiotherapy and better life outcomes. 

“I think we (men) are a bit afraid about it, because you don’t want to turn up at the doctors and think you are going to get bad news,” Nicholas said.

“It is scary and it is not nice to go and find out – but the thing is if you have symptoms, then just go and get it checked.

“Because if you sadly have got it and they can spot it early enough, that actually puts you in a good position. It might not sound like it, but you really are.”

:: Jeff Stelling’s Football March 2023 is sponsored by specialist cancer care provider GenesisCare. You can sponsor Jeff to honour Bill’s legacy and help beat prostate cancer via – https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/JeffStellingsFootballMarch2023

Eddie Nketiah insists he never felt that his chance to represent England had passed him, by even after Arsenal team-mates Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe got the jump on him on the international stage.

The 24-year-old, England’s all-time record goalscorer at Under-21 level, received his first senior call-up for the upcoming games against Ukraine and Scotland but is now ready to make his “own story” with Gareth Southgate’s side.

Nketiah made his Arsenal debut six years ago and last turned out for the Under-21s in 2021.

He has scored 34 goals in 136 games for the Gunners, starting with a memorable home debut off the bench against Norwich – scoring a brace to secure victory in an EFL Cup tie.

Despite bursting onto the scene, Nketiah’s options were limited to the lesser cup competitions and a disappointing loan spell at Leeds in the Sky Bet Championship was seen as another setback.

All the while, Saka and Smith Rowe were emerging as the next precocious academy talent off the Hale End production line – the former now a firm favourite of England boss Gareth Southgate.

Asked if he was concerned he may have missed his own international opportunity, Nketiah replied: “I’m still young.

“Everyone’s journey is different. In this day and age everyone needs to focus on their own story and their own journey, not look at anyone else’s. Our career paths have been totally different. We’ve had different opportunities at different times.

“I’ve always been someone who’s trusted in God, trust in myself, believe in the process step by step. It might not always happen exactly when you want it but if you keep putting in the work and doing the right things it will come.

“I am playing for a great club and a big club at Arsenal. These tough games will be a different and new experience but it is about doing as well as I can, showing my quality this week, and hopefully getting an opportunity to go out there and help the team.

“I think I am a much better player now than I was two or three years ago. It is really nice and I am coming in at a good time.

“I feel confident and I feel ready to continue to improve – that is the thing, I’m still young and humble enough to know I am not the finished article.

“Coming away with these players and being able to show my quality and learn from them is really good for me and (to) continue to take those steps in my career.”

Nketiah could have opted to switch allegiances, with Ghana – the birthplace of his parents – putting feelers out to attract him to play for the Black Stars.

But, once the England call came, the former Chelsea youngster knew he had made the right decision.

He added: “I think obviously both sides were always an option.

“I think naturally coming through the academy at England, you have the aspiration to play here and once the call-up was there and the offer was on the table it was really hard to turn down, something which I felt was a natural progression for myself at this stage.

“I felt now was a good time to make that step so obviously I’m really happy to be here and proud to be here. Hopefully I can go on and help the team this week and get some caps.”

England were joined for training by three members of the Under-20 set-up as preparations continued for the matches in Ukraine and Scotland.

Gareth Southgate’s side men head to Poland to take on Ukraine in a Euro 2024 qualifier on Saturday, before heading to Glasgow for a friendly three days later.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jack Grealish withdrew from the initial 26-man selection on Monday through injury, with 21 of the remaining players taking part in the full session at St George’s Park the following day.

Callum Wilson, Bukayo Saka and uncapped Levil Colwill were not involved in training due to load management, with Lewis Hall among the three prospects brought up from the England Under-20s squad to help make up the numbers.

The talented 18-year-old left-back joined Newcastle on a season-long loan from Chelsea last month, with an obligation to buy depending on performance-related criteria.

Fellow Chelsea product Bashir Humphreys was another involved. The 20-year-old defender is on loan at Sky Bet Championship outfit Swansea.

Tottenham midfielder Alfie Devine was the other to link up with the senior squad for training. The 19-year-old is currently on loan at League One side Port Vale.

Evan Ferguson has been ruled out of the Republic of Ireland’s upcoming Euro 2024 qualifying matches against France and the Netherlands.

The 18-year-old picked up a knee injury during Brighton’s 3-1 win against Newcastle on Saturday, in which he scored all three of his side’s goals, and after being assessed by national team medical staff has withdrawn from the squad.

He joined up with the team on Sunday but it has been decided that he will not be fit to feature in either match during the current international window, with the squad due to travel to France later on Tuesday.

Stephen Kenny’s team have three points from their first three matches in Group B and need a positive result in Paris on Thursday and against the Dutch in Dublin next week to keep alive realistic hopes of reaching next summer’s finals.

The manager has Norwich’s Adam Idah, Preston’s Will Keane, Hull’s Aaron Connolly and Chiedozie Ogbene of Luton available as his other forward options.

Harry Maguire has yet to play for Manchester United this season but could be part of the England squad announced on Thursday as Gareth Southgate deals with defensive headaches.

The Euro 2020 runners-up continue the road to next summer’s tournament with a qualifier against Ukraine in Poland on September 9, before playing a friendly in Scotland three days later.

There have been few surprises in recent selections and that theme is likely to continue when Southgate names his squad for the double-header at St George’s Park on Thursday.

The England boss is expected to largely stick with the tried and tested, meaning the likes of and Maguire, Kalvin Phillips and Jordan Henderson may get the nod despite questions over their international futures.

Maguire was replaced as Manchester United captain over the summer having fallen down the pecking order and has yet to play for Erik ten Hag’s side this season.

The 30-year-old’s last competitive match was June’s 7-0 win against North Macedonia and his next could also come in an England shirt due to a lack of centre-back options.

John Stones has yet to feature in the league this term due to a hip problem and Tyrone Mings, who returned to the international squad in June, has suffered a serious knee injury.

Eric Dier is fit but has not even made the bench for Tottenham this season and has been widely linked with a move before Friday’s transfer deadline.

Ben White, Fikayo Tomori, Marc Guehi and Lewis Dunk are options, while Chelsea defender Levi Colwill is expected to receive his first formal call-up.

The 20-year-old centre-back spent time with the senior set-up in June, including travelling to Malta, before going on to help England Under-21s win the European Championship.

In midfield, Southgate has decisions to make over Phillips and Henderson – two key members of his squad in recent years.

The former has struggled to make an impact at treble-winning Manchester City since joining from Leeds last summer and has yet to play a minute this term.

Southgate previously indicated a continued lack of game time could impact Phillips and Maguire, while Henderson’s move to Saudi Arabia raises questions over his international role ahead of the Euros.

England’s vice-captain joined Al-Ettifaq in the summer – a move that Southgate said makes it harder to assess the 33-year-old’s level, albeit clarifying “we would be stupid” to rule him out.

There is better news regarding another of England’s most experienced players after Raheem Sterling’s return to form after a sticky first campaign at Chelsea.

The 82-cap forward has not played for England since the World Cup quarter-final defeat to France, with injury ruling him out in March and a hamstring issue lying him low in June.

That omission was described as a “mutual decision” that appears to have paid off given Sterling’s lively start to the new season, including a brace and assist in Friday’s 3-0 win over Luton.

Chelsea team-mate Reece James is set to miss September’s matches through injury, as are the Manchester United duo of Luke Shaw and Mason Mount.

Morgan Gibbs-White, a key part of England’s Under-21s Euros triumph, is pushing to get his first call-up after continuing where he left off back at Nottingham Forest.

Eberechi Eze will be looking to maintain his place having made his debut in June and Rico Henry is another reportedly in contention.

Brentford team-mate Ivan Toney remains unavailable as he serves a Football Association betting ban and Roma’s Tammy Abraham is recovering from reconstructive surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Callum Wilson has not started for Newcastle this season but fellow striker Ollie Watkins – whose last cap came in March 2022 – is looking sharp at Aston Villa.

England skipper Taylor Harwood-Bellis will head into Saturday’s European Under-21s Championship final convinced his side deserve to emerge with the trophy.

Lee Carsley’s youngsters face Spain at the Batumi Arena in Georgia determined to deny their opponents a record sixth title after sailing into the showdown having won all five of their games – three of them at final venue – to date in the tournament without conceding a goal.

Manchester City defender Harwood-Bellis admits he has been dreaming of getting his hands on the silverware, but knows there is plenty to do before he and his team-mates can celebrate a first success in the competition since 1984.

Speaking at England’s pre-match press conference, he said: “It’s good to visualise yourself lifting the trophy, but there’s a long way to go before that happens. At least 90 minutes.

“It would be massive for us to win. We’ve put in so much work over the last two years, we’ve played at such a high level and I think the squad would deserve to lift the trophy.”

England’s progress in Georgia and Romania has been serene, topping Group C with successive 2-0 victories over Czech Republic, Israel and Germany before edging past Portugal in the last eight and dispatching the Israelis for a second time in the semi-finals.

Spain, who last lifted the trophy in 2019, are likely to provide a much sterner test, although Carsley believes there is more to come from his side.

He said: “We were ranking sixth coming into the tournament, so getting to the final is a big achievement. I felt getting out of the group was a good achievement. But I think this team has another two or three levels to go.

“Since coming into the knockout stages, we know we only have one chance. Someone is going to win tomorrow. I expect us to be under pressure, but the players know that too, and I know they will react in the right way.

“We’ve watched Spain a lot. They’re a great team. My players have played brilliantly this tournament, and now they have a chance to show everyone back home they are potential new senior internationals.”

Spain captain Abel Ruiz, like coach Santi Denia and team-mates Antonio Blanco, Sergio Gomez, Juan Miranda, are looking to complete a treble after winning the Under-17s European Championship in 2017 – they beat an England team including Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho on penalties in the final – and the Under-19s edition two years later.

Ruiz said: “We know England well – there are one or two of them who played against us at Under-17s level.

“We expect a keenly contested game. They have kept plenty of clean sheets. We know we have to do really well to be able to score against them and take the trophy.”

Denia added: “We have to try and play the perfect game. We need to be as near to that as possible to beat England. It’s difficult, but that’s what we need to do.”

Scotland have added James Morrison to Steve Clarke’s coaching staff.

The former Middlesbrough and West Brom midfielder earned 46 caps for Scotland during his career and was part of the backroom team for their Euro 2024 qualifier wins against Norway and Georgia earlier this month.

Following his retirement in 2019 Morrison joined West Brom’s coaching staff and will continue in his role with the Baggies academy.

He told the Scottish FA website: “It was always a great honour to represent Scotland every time I put on the shirt and it is a privilege to be given an opportunity to work with the men’s national team in a coaching capacity.

“During the recent camp, I witnessed the high standards driven by the coaching staff and players alike and I am thrilled to be a part of the group going forward, at what is a hugely exciting time for the Scotland men’s national team.”

Billy Gilmour was delighted to end a challenging season on a high with an impressive display in Scotland’s 2-0 Euro 2024 qualifying win over Georgia.

Gilmour won the official man-of-the-match award after making light of the sodden conditions with an excellent display of possession football.

The midfielder was making his first competitive start for Scotland this season after forcing his way into the Brighton team in the final weeks of the campaign.

Gilmour had been unfortunate to see the man who signed him from Chelsea, Graham Potter, leave for Stamford Bridge a week after the transfer. He took some time to get into Roberto De Zerbi’s team and also had to cope with being the victim of a stalking campaign last autumn by a woman who was sentenced in court to a suspended prison term on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old started five of the last eight games of the Premier League season, which included a 6-0 win over Wolves, a draw with Manchester City and wins over Manchester United and Arsenal.

And he was able to depart for his summer break in good spirits after helping Scotland maintain their 100 per cent record in Group A of the European Championship qualifiers.

“I am really happy with my first start in a while,” the former Rangers youth player said. “I am just happy to be back out there playing, with a smile on my face, doing what I love. It’s a good feeling.

“It’s been a challenging season. Towards the back end I got quite a few opportunities at Brighton, so I am thankful and happy. I have worked hard. It was a good way to end the season.”

Scotland moved eight points clear at the halfway mark of their group, although Spain have two games in hand and are nine behind.

Gilmour said: “We have shown a real togetherness. We are doing well as a team and the manager is making sure we are working hard and challenging each other every day in training. It’s really good for Scotland. Everyone is pushing each other.”

Scotland overcame torrential conditions and a near two-hour delay to clear water off the pitch to beat Georgia through goals from Callum McGregor and Scott McTominay.

“It was tough,” Gilmour said. “One minute the game was going ahead and the next it’s not.

“It was a crazy night but mentally we had to be focused and ready and big thanks to the fans staying behind and the ball boys helping out, cleaning the pitch and making sure it was playable.

“The first 10-15 minutes was crazy, just to adjust, you think you can win it and then it holds up. But we got it sorted. Everyone stuck together, helped out and we got three points.”

Gilmour was focused on the game rather than being distracted by the prospect of finishing the match on Wednesday and delaying summer breaks.

“I was too busy sitting down trying to keep myself ticking over,” he said. “There might have been a couple of shouts of ‘replay tomorrow’ but it was fine after we got the water off the pitch.

“Football came first, obviously with the national team. We were all focused on that and leave summer until after the game. Now we can go and have a break and enjoy.”

Group A leaders Scotland face Georgia in their fourth Euro 2024 qualifying match.

Their opponents have caused problems to Scotland in previous European Championship campaigns.

Here is the lowdown on Tuesday’s visitors to Hampden.


Georgia have a familiar face in the dugout in former Bayern Munich and France full-back Willy Sagnol. He knows all about Hampden, having lost there to a Gary Caldwell goal in 2006 in the Euro 2008 qualifiers. Sagnol started his coaching career with France Under-21s before spending close to two years in charge of Bordeaux. He had a brief spell as Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant at Bayern in 2017 and took charge of Georgia in February 2021.


Georgia sit second in Group A after drawing with Norway and winning in Cyprus in their opening two fixtures and their good form stretches back more than 18 months. They have only lost once in 15 games – in a World Cup warm-up game for Morocco. They have won 11 of those matches with defeated opponents including Sweden, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria and North Macedonia. A 5-2 Nations League win in Bulgaria is arguably the highlight of that run.

Star man

Georgia boast a player who has lit up Serie A this season. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia won the title with Napoli and the league’s player-of-the-year award after delivering 12 goals and 10 assists in 33 games. The 22-year-old was even nicknamed “Kvaradona” because of the influence he had for a club who last won the title with the help of the football genius of Diego Maradona. The winger only joined Napoli last summer after returning to Georgia to sign for Dinamo Batumi after leaving Rubin Kazan in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He has 10 goals in 21 internationals and is undoubtedly the one to watch from the visitors to Hampden.

Past meetings

Scotland have beaten Georgia twice in Glasgow but lost both of their away fixtures, each of which were arguably the most costly games in Scotland’s near misses in qualification attempts for the European Championships of 2008 and 2016. Both home games have been narrow wins – Scotland needed an 89th-minute strike from Craig Beattie to seal a 2-1 victory in Alex McLeish’s first game in charge in 2007 and an own goal at Ibrox in a 1-0 victory in October 2014.

Paddy McNair believes Northern Ireland still have it all to play for in Euro 2024 qualifying despite the disappointment of Friday’s defeat to Denmark as they turn attentions to taking on Kazakhstan.

Michael O’Neill said he was “not thinking about qualification” in the wake of a frustrating night, on which VAR ruled out a stoppage-time equaliser from debutant Callum Marshall, but with nations taking points off one another in Group H, McNair said everything was still open at this stage of the campaign.

Four teams, including Kazakhstan, are level on six points in the group, with Northern Ireland fifth on three after their opening victory over San Marino in March.

“Now we have a big game against Kazakhstan and if we can win that, the position is fine then, but it is a big game,” said McNair, who has been described as an injury doubt for Monday’s match with an Achilles problem.

“With Finland beating Slovenia it shows you how tight this group is going to be, probably until the end.

“We knew everyone was going to beat each other at points. Denmark were always going to be the favourites as the Pot 1 team, but I believe second is definitely up for grabs. I know other nations will feel exactly the same way, too.”

The VAR check that denied Marshall and Northern Ireland took a full five minutes before eventually ruling that Jonny Evans was offside before heading on Jordan Thompson’s free-kick.

The controversy overshadowed an encouraging performance from Northern Ireland that went unrewarded, with Denmark edging the contest after Jonas Wind punished a mistake from Ciaron Brown – who was otherwise excellent on the night.

“I thought we did really well,” McNair added. You come away to these places and you really have to dig in, which we did. We got ourselves to half-time and then to concede so soon after was frustrating.

“But we bounced back well from that and I thought we caused them problems. There are a lot of young lads in this team and I think the entire experience will have been good for them.”

Friday’s frustration can serve as its own motivation for Monday as Northern Ireland look to deliver a win in front of their home fans.

“I don’t think it will be difficult to lift everyone after Friday night,” McNair said. “The performance was good, obviously it was disappointing but there were a lot of positives to take from it. It’s not like we came away to Denmark and didn’t lay a glove on them and got beaten three or four.

“Their players and manager even said on the pitch afterwards what a tough game it was, so it’s frustrating but we go again.”

“Michael was very happy with the performance. We were all disappointed in the result and although we’ve lost the last two we aren’t in a bad place and we are really looking forward to Monday.

“Friday’s performance has given the young lads, and the rest of us, that confidence that we can go away from home and give the best teams a game and we always believe we can do that at home.”

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