Elliott impresses as England U21s thrash Azerbaijan

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Harvey Elliott pressed his claims for a late run into England’s Euro 2024 squad with two goals in the U21s’ 5-1 victory over Azerbaijan.

The 20-year-old Liverpool midfielder took his tally to seven goals in six matches and is now the leading scorer across the whole of this U21 Euros qualifying campaign.

Elliott will hope to catch Gareth Southgate’s eye again at home to Luxembourg in Bolton on Tuesday as he looks to follow Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo in breaking into the senior set-up.

Chelsea’s Noni Madueke scored his fourth of the campaign as the visitors pressed home their dominance with two goals inside five first-half minutes, with Aston Villa’s Jaden Philogene and Elliott scoring after the break before debutant Archie Gray scored the fifth in the 88th minute.

It means the reigning European champions are the tournament’s leading goalscorers with 25 and they drew level on points with Group F leaders Ukraine, who head to Baku on Tuesday.

How Elliott inspired England…

From the outset Lee Carsley’s side were able to expose weaknesses down Azerbaijan’s right and Aston Villa’s Morgan Rogers had four chances in less than 10 minutes.

But the breakthrough did not come until the 25th minute and it was a Liverpool connection which made it in the Qarabag stadium in Baku.

Reds midfielder Tyler Morton, currently on loan at Hull, lofted a cross to the far post where Elliott ghosted in behind Rufat Ahmadov.

His brilliant first touch with his right foot allowed him to then poke it past goalkeeper Rustam Samigullin with his left.

Azerbaijan’s right was exposed again in the 29th minute when Philogene broke and crossed low for Madueke to turn it in via a deflection off defender Seymur Mammadov.

The hosts’ best chance came in the 41st minute when Aghadadash Salyanskiy headed over having been put off by team-mate Dzhamal Dzhafarov, who forced the first genuine save from Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford shortly after half-time.

But Philogene ensured there were to be no slip-ups in the 52nd minute when he added the third, although he knew little about it.

Morton’s corner picked out Taylor Harwood-Bellis and his downward header deflected in off the Villa winger, who had turned his back on the ball.

Rogers did all the hard work for Elliott’s fourth, holding off Mammadov to cross for his team-mate to score from six yards with Ramin Nasirli scoring a late consolation after Trafford pushed Samir Abdullayev’s shot into his path.

But Leeds midfielder Gray had the final say, slotting home just five minutes after coming on as a substitute.

What’s next?

England U21s are next in action against Luxembourg in another Euro U21 Qualifier in Bolton on Tuesday; kick-off 7pm.

Azerbaijan U21s’ next game is at home to Ukraine in Euro U21 Qualifying on Tuesday; kick-off 12pm.

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