Mixed night for Norwich City contingent as England Under-21s beat Kosovo
PUBLISHED: 22:30 09 September 2019 | UPDATED: 23:02 09 September 2019
It was a mixed night for the Norwich City contingent as England Under-21s beat their Kosovo counterparts 2-0 in their latest Euro 2021 qualifier in Hull on Monday evening.
Ben Godfrey had the honour of captaining the side to victory as part of three man defence, while Todd Cantwell made his first appearance at this level after coming on as a substitute on the hour mark.
But the evening ended a real low note for their City colleague Max Aarons, who had to be helped off the pitch in the 80th minute after picking up a ankle injury which thankfully doesn't appear to be anything serious.
Phil Foden's double secured England a well deserved win at the KCOM Stadium.
The Manchester City midfielder followed up a rebound to give England a half-time lead and lashed home his second in stoppage time.
The Young Lions followed up Friday's 3-2 victory in Turkey by ensuring six points from their opening two Group Three matches.
Aidy Boothroyd's side should have won by a bigger margin and it was for long periods a frustrating night for a crowd of 15,258 as the hosts failed to cash in on their dominance.
Kosovo, top of Group Three at kick-off after wins against Andorra and Turkey, began full of confidence and forced England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale into the first save.
Winger Lirim Kastrati, not to be confused with Kosovo's left-back who has the same name, raced on to a ball over the top and saw his low shot turned away for a corner.
England made just one change from the side that won in Turkey, with Godfrey in for Jonathan Panzo, but were slow into their stride.
They had only just begun to find any kind of cohesion by the time Foden gave them a 25th-minute lead.
Steven Sessegnon's shot was cleared off the goal-line by defender Kastrati and Foden followed up to force the ball home.
Foden's influence grew and so did England's dominance. Tom Davies headed Foden's corner narrowly over and Reiss Nelson's shot from inside the area was well saved by Kosovo goalkeeper Florjan Smakiqi.
Kosovo served warning of their threat on the break just before half-time when Ardit Gashi lashed a low effort narrowly wide.
England should have doubled their lead soon after the restart, but Eddie Nketiah pulled his low effort wide.
Cantwell and Mason Greenwood replaced Reiss Nelson and Morgan Gibbs-White just after the hour-mark as England looked to turn their superiority into more goals.
Cantwell's shot was fumbled for a corner by Smakiqi, but they still had little to show for all their possession and only a brave lunge in the box by Aarons denied Kosovo a clear scoring chance, with the City man appearing to sustain a knee injury in the process,
Aarons then limped off and was replaced by James Justin and as England looked set to settle for a single-goal win, Foden pounced on a loose ball in the area in the fourth minute of added time and lashed his shot into the top corner.
"There is no better feeling than scoring and I am happy to help the lads, we deserved the three points," Foden said afterwards.
"It was not easy and I thought they played well on the night. We kept our patience and it paid off.
"It is the perfect start to qualifying. We are top now so I am happy. We are a very young team and have not been together long, but we want to win and we play with a smile on our faces."