Norwich City international round-up: Edwards starts for England U20s and Watkins earns second Wales cap
PUBLISHED: 10:15 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:43 23 March 2018
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Norwich City’s on-loan Tottenham starlet Marcus Edwards finally made his return to action as he played the opening hour of a 1-0 win in Poland for the England U20s.
The 19-year-old creative midfielder joined the Canaries on loan but an initial back injury and then a need for the youngster to improve on his defensive attitude have left him in the shadows.
However, his season is back up and running having been named on the bench for City for the first time, although remaining unused during a 3-2 home Championship win over Reading.
Edwards, described as a ‘mini Messi’ by Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is a regular at England youth levels, winning his 47th cap across the age groups as Keith Downing’s U20s won their friendly yesterday.
He started in front of almost 14,000 at the game in Bielsku-Bialej and played 62 minutes before being replaced by Chris Willock of Benfica. Aston Villa striker Keinan Davis scored the winner in the 87th minute.
Earlier in the day, Norwich attacker Marley Watkins earned his second Welsh cap in a record-breaking 6-0 friendly win in China that saw Gareth Bale break Ian Rush’s goalscoring record in Ryan Giggs’ first match in charge.
Watkins played the final 20 minutes in Nanning in a Bale-inspired cruise for the Welsh. The Real Madrid superstar notched a hat-trick to take his tally for his country to 29, one ahead of the former Liverpool and Juventus hitman.
Bale put Wales ahead inside three minutes before slotting a second soon after to move level with Rush’s mark, before Sam Vokes’ deft flick and Harry Wilson’s excellent whipped effort on his 21st birthday gave the visitors a 4-0 half-time lead.
Vokes added his second and Wales’ fifth after the break, and then Bale sealed his hat-trick to complete the rout. Giggs’ men will now play in Monday’s final of the China Cup tournament, against either Uruguay or the Czech Republic.
Grant Hanley and Kenny McLean could be in action tonight, as Scotland host Costa Rica in a friendly at Hampden Park (7.45pm) but Angus Gunn is a slight doubt for the England U21s’ game on Saturday.
Gunn sat out training yesterday with a back problem. Young Lions’ chief Aidy Boothroyd is confident the Manchester City ace will be passed fit for tomorrow’s friendly against Romania at Molineux (5.15pm), and next week’s European Championship qualifier against Ukraine.
Boothroyd, however, faces an anxious wait with Gunn’s understudy, Freddie Woodman, also sitting out training with a hip injury.
It has left just Shrewsbury’s Dean Henderson, on loan from Manchester United, fit 24 hours before the game at Molineux.
Gunn has become Boothroyd’s number one since Jordan Pickford moved to the senior set-up following Euro 2017.
Boothroyd said: “We have a back and hip little issue with Angus and Freddie. Because they’re both goalkeepers we’ve taken them out of the firing line, as a precaution. I’m hoping both will be fine.”
James Maddison is also with the U21s, who host Romania ahead of their Euro 2019 qualifier against Ukraine in Sheffield on Tuesday. The Young Lions are five points clear at the top of Group Four.
The other action on Saturday sees Jamal Lewis hoping to make his senior Northern Ireland debut in a friendly against South Korea at Windsor Park (2pm), with goalkeeper Michael McGovern also in the squad.
Young striker Adam Idah is also set for action with the Ireland U17s, against Georgia (4.30pm), as Elite Round qualifying for the European Championship continues in Poland. Idah scored a penalty as the Irish beat Macedonia 3-0 on Wednesday and now has 13 goals in 16 games at U17 level.
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