Jamal Musiala scores England's third goal
Credit: ACTION IMAGES
- England U21s 5 Albania U21s 0
Jamal Musiala is another teenager making an impact in the Bundesliga and here was further evidence of England’s bright future.
Musiala has already broken through at Bayern Munich and at 17 years, 8 months and 22 days old is now emerging as the latest young star for the Under-21s.
The former Chelsea trainee scored on his full debut as Aidy Boothroyd’s vibrant squad secured their ninth victory in the final qualifier, with a place at Euro 2021 secured last month.
Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham has already been promoted from the U21s to the senior team and Musiala, an attacking midfielder, is clearly another player to watch.
Boothroyd said: “Jamal was fantastic and his brain is razor sharp. You can tell he’s obviously young, and you could see that from the way he played, but I was delighted with him.
“He gives me a nice problem going into March [the tournament]. We’re really pleased with him to step up the way he has done.
“To score some goals and keep a clean sheet is a huge positive for us going into the tournament.”
England’s unbeaten run in qualifiers has now extended to 45 games, but the real test will come in March when they compete at the European Championships.
There have been false dawns so many times before yet this was another impressive team performance, despite Albania proving such poor opposition.
Callum Hudson-Odoi started the rout in the fourth minute and sent out another message to Chelsea manager Frank Lampard with his excellent performance.
England were dominant and extended their lead in the 26th minute when Leicester’s James Justin converted Lee Buchanan’s cross.
Musiala’s magical moment came nine minutes before half-time, with the teenager producing a brilliant run and scuffed finish after an exchange of passes with Oliver Skipp.
Eddie Nketiah, the record U21s goalscorer, added a fourth early in the second half and had a penalty saved by Albania goalkeeper Marco Molla, but produced a fine finish four minutes from time to complete a routine win.
England U21s (3-4-3): Bursik 7; Wilmot 7, Godfrey 7, Kelly 7; Justin 8, Skipp 7 (DaSilva 76), Davies 6, Buchanan 7 (McNeil 72 6); Musiala 7 (Jones 61 6), Nketiah 7, Hudson-Odoi 8 (Gallagher 61 7).
Substitutes: Ramsdale (g), Austin (g), Lamptey, Panzo.
Albania U21s (4-3-3): Molla 3; Marku 4, Selmani 4, Sota 3, Mitaj 3; Tuci 4 (Ndrecka half-time 4), Cokaj 4, Muci 4 (Ademi 68 4); Dobra 4 (Pellumbi 68 4), Bullari 5, Xhixha 4 (Mihana half-time 4).
Substitutes: Harizaj (g), Kolaj, Mihana, Kalaj.
Booked: Cokaj, Selmani.
Referee: Alain Bieri (Switzerland)