England Under-21 boss Lee Carsley threw down the gauntlet to Harvey Elliott after his brilliant brace.

The Liverpool midfielder scored twice as the Young Lions breezed past Northern Ireland 3-0 at Goodison Park.

Reds team-mate Tyler Morton, on loan at Hull, opened the scoring as Carsley’s men recorded a routine Euro 2025 qualifying win.

Elliott now has five goals in Group F, with England second behind Ukraine, and Carsley wants to see more of the same.

He said: “It’s important he keep scoring and assisting because he’s going to be that kind of player.

“His stats and data for us are very, very high in terms of his attacking actions around the box, the amount of chances he creates for other players but more importantly, his work rate and the way he presses the ball.

“He has to keep scoring and assisting, it’s a big part of his game. The most important thing for a lot of the players is just staying in the race.

“Making sure you keep yourself fit, making sure your attitude is in the right place and you’re trying to make yourself selectable.

“Then, when you get the opportunity, taking it. To be a young player and to play in the Premier League week in, week out is a big ask so making sure you’re putting yourself in a position to do that is a big thing.

“He’s come into camp looking really fit, really sharp. He’s doing the right things. That’s all he can do. When he’s come on for Liverpool he’s made a really good impact and I see that continuing.”

Morton opened the scoring after 31 minutes when he drilled in from the edge of the box as Northern Ireland finally buckled after a frustrating opening for the hosts.

They had to wait until five minutes after half-time for a second when Elliott curled a fine free-kick into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

The 20-year-old added a third with 10 minutes left, latching onto Morton’s pass and chipping goalkeeper Josh Clarke.

Carsley added: “You have to be patient and you have to keep probing. In the first 20 minutes I thought we were a little bit too safe.

“Once we got the first goal I thought we saw a different level.”

James McAtee’s brace inspired dominant England Under-21s to a routine 3-0 win in Serbia.

The Manchester City midfielder, on loan at Sheffield United, scored his first goals for the Young Lions.

Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott added a third early in the second half as England saw out their Euro 2025 qualifier on Saturday with minimum fuss, shrugging off last month’s rare defeat to Ukraine.

Lee Carsley’s side remain second, three points behind leaders Ukraine in Group F after their 4-0 win over Luxembourg on Friday.

England thumped Serbia 9-1 at the City Ground last month and were dominant from the start in Backa Topola.

It took just five minutes for the Young Lions to open the scoring when McAtee collected the ball on the edge of the area and his strike deflected off Mihajlo Ilic to loop over Veljko Ilic in goal.

Four minutes later Liam Delap came close to doubling the lead when he glanced Noni Madueke’s cross just wide.

But it was 2-0 after 19 minutes when McAtee received Hayden Hackney’s pass 20 yards out and drilled in, although Ilic should have done better.

England dominated the rest of the half without adding to their advantage but took just nine minutes of the second half to make it 3-0.

Elliott scored twice in the rout in Nottingham and got in on the act when he drilled into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Striker Jay Stansfield, making his debut after a late call this week, hit the woodwork after a neat turn and strike with 13 minutes left and also went close late on.

Stansfield, on loan at Birmingham from Fulham, was denied a debut goal with three minutes remaining when he latched onto Madueke’s pass but saw his shot blocked.

Lee Carsley backed his England Under-21s to create history after reaching the Euro 2023 final.

Morgan Gibbs-White, Cole Palmer and Cameron Archer eased England past Israel 3-0 and they will face Spain in Georgia on Saturday.

It is the first time since 2009 they have made the European final and have not won the tournament since 1984.

“It’s a great achievement for the players. We spoke about creating our own history,” Carsley told a press conference.

“We’ve done well up till now, but the next thing is the biggest thing. It comes in three days, so recovery will be important now.

“I still think we’ve still got a lot of improving to do. There’s still another level for this team to go. They’ve really grown as a group and they’re getting everything they deserve.

“I’m so, so pleased for them because I’m a big believer that we’ve got so much quality and they just need the opportunity.

“To watch how they’ve developed on and off the pitch has been brilliant. We sometimes take for granted the level of players we’re producing.

“We’ve now mainly got to recover, and for the lads to get a bit of down time, and then look ahead to the final. They’re so motivated to do well, I’m so lucky.

“All the credit goes to the squad, they’re a very determined bunch. They have a lot of pride in possession, but also in the blocks and clearances. But there are still a lot of things we can sharpen up ahead of the next game.”

Gibbs-White missed a 17th-minute penalty after Anthony Gordon was fouled – following a lengthy VAR check – with Emile Smith Rowe having a shot cleared off the line and hitting the post seconds before.

But the Nottingham Forest midfielder headed in from 12 yards with three minutes of the first half left to atone for his error.

Palmer made it 2-0 just after the hour when he converted Smith Rowe’s cross, although the Manchester City player needed to wait for a VAR check.

The midfielder then laid the ball on for Archer to add a third in stoppage time as the Young Lions reached the final without conceding a goal.

England Under-21s boss Lee Carsley hailed the cutting edge shown by his side in the opening minutes of their 2-0 victory over Germany in the European Under-21 Championship.

The Young Lions hit the front after just four minutes when Cameron Archer latched onto a threaded pass from Jacob Ramsey before slotting the ball past Noah Atubolu, and they made it 2-0 with 21 minutes on the clock as Harvey Elliott scored a superb solo effort.

England secured a quarter-final date with Portugal on Sunday by topping the group with three straight 2-0 wins over their group-stage opponents, while holders Germany were sent crashing out.

Carsley told UEFA.com: “We were fortunate to take our chances. Germany had some really good chances but didn’t take them. We’re really happy with the result but more importantly the performance.

“We thought it was a really difficult game. We knew preparing for the game that it was going to be a tough one.

“We were lucky enough to play Germany in one of the international windows in a friendly. We knew the quality that they had. Tactically they’re very difficult to break down and you’ve seen that in the game today.”

England have yet to concede a goal in the tournament having kept three straight clean sheets, and Carsley praised the performance of his defensive unit.

He continued: “We talk about the whole team defending, as opposed to just the defence.

“I thought Levi (Colwill) and Taylor (Harwood-Bellis) as well as Jarrad (Branthwaite) and Charlie (Cresswell) have done outstandingly at centre-back, and obviously James (Trafford) in goal.

“As a whole, we’ve defended really well from full-back areas, with midfielders and forwards. It was really pleasing to see, right at the end of the game, players making blocks on the edge of the box and blocking crosses. It’s good to see.”

England Under-21 manager Lee Carsley believes the versatility of his players gives him plenty of options to find ways of winning as he looks to secure their place in the knockout stages of the European Championships.

Victory over Israel on Sunday would take England into the quarter-finals, having won their opening game in the tournament for the first time since 2009, when they reached the final.

Carsley’s team selection in beating the Czech Republic saw him pick seven midfielders, with Newcastle winger Anthony Gordon playing as a striker.

The manager thinks that flexibility is advantageous.

“We’ve tried to come up with two or three ways of exploiting the opposition,” he told a press conference.

“We’ll try and find gaps and spaces. It surprises me that there is surprise (at his team selection). The players nowadays are multi-functional.

“I see that we’ve got a lot of players within this squad that can do different roles.

“Part of the squad selection was having that flexibility to play with a different kind of nine (striker).

“I see pretty much any of the forward players, whether they’re wide players or forwards, being able to do that nine.

“You get a different type of nine with Anthony than you would with Cole (Palmer) or Curtis (Jones) or Emile (Smith Rowe). We’ve got plenty of options.

“The way we’ve picked the squad, when we make a change it shouldn’t affect the team too much.”

Manchester City midfielder Tommy Doyle will miss the game against Israel, who drew 1-1 with defending champions Germany, after he sustained a minor knee problem in training while Norwich defender Max Aarons is ill.

England Under-21s head coach Lee Carsley praised the spirit of his squad after goals from Jacob Ramsey and Emile Smith Rowe secured a 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic in their Euro 2023 opener.

Chelsea forward Noni Madueke had signalled England’s intent early on when his effort came back off the crossbar.

Although the Czech Republic also had chances, with Vasil Kusej spurning the best of them when clear through on goal, the Young Lions maintained their composure to make the breakthrough at the start of the second half through Aston Villa midfielder Ramsey.


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After Anthony Gordon saw a goal ruled out with 20 minutes left for Morgan Gibbs-White blocking a free-kick in the build-up, England continued on the front foot and were eventually rewarded during stoppage time when substitute Smith Rowe slotted home following a counter-attack.

England reached the semi-finals of the tournament in 2017, but failed to make it out of the group stage in both 2019 and 2021.

With holders Germany and Israel having played out a 1-1 draw in Kutaisi, Carsley’s side now find themselves in the driving seat for qualification from Group C.

“I am really pleased to get the result,” Carsley said on UEFA.com.

“The preparation has gone really well, but I didn’t want to jinx us before the game by saying that.

“There is a brilliant spirit within the lads. We feel like we’re in a good place.”

Carsley’s side next face Israel on Sunday before tackling Germany in Batumi on June 28.

Arsenal midfielder Smith Rowe said: “We wanted to make a statement in the first game.

“We knew the Czechs would be really strong, so we are really happy with the three points.”

The Czech Republic will now regroup for their second game against Germany.

“A match like this has to be the best motivation for the future despite our loss,” coach Jan Suchoparek said.

“It is not the end of the tournament for us and I am sure we will fight in the next two matches even more.”

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