Palmer scores stunning debut goal in England MU21s' 2-0 win over Kosovo
Cole Palmer marked his England men’s under-21 debut in style with a stunning solo effort during the MU21s’ 2-0 victory over Kosovo at Stadium MK.
Rhian Brewster also netted his debut goal for the MU21s during Lee Carsley’s first game in charge, as the Young Lions started their UEFA U21 EURO qualifying campaign with victory in front of 5,781 fans in Milton Keynes.
With Emile Smith Rowe missing with a non-Covid-related illness and Ryan Sessegnon and Harvey Elliott withdrawn from the squad due to injury, Carsley’s starting XI included four debutants in Luke Thomas, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, James Garner and Palmer.
While Kosovo showed a few threatening flashes, strong performances from a backline led by captain Marc Guehi kept their attack at bay.
England dominated the opening minutes but it was Kosovo with the first chance, as Conor Gallagher turned over the ball from a corner.
Kosovo continued to press but Brewster’s perfectly-timed run allowed him to draw the penalty after colliding with goalkeeper Leo Besson.
Brewster, who also scored his first goal for Sheffield United last month, staggered his run-up before firing a decisive strike into the bottom corner on ten minutes.
Kosovo’s best chances of the match came in quick succession midway through the first half, Kreshnik Krasniqi pouncing on a loose ball and firing at Josef Bursik.
The England goalkeeper’s save was quickly picked up by Mark Marleku and Guehi managed to get a leg on it to prevent further damage.
Kosovo enjoyed five of the seven chances in the opening quarter but the Young Lions settled into the contest and began to threaten from the wings.
It finally paid dividends on 26 minutes when a Thomas cross ended up at the feet of Palmer outside the box wide right.
The debutant showed patience as he picked up the ball, produced a Cruyff turn to evade Florian Hoxha, glanced up to assess his options and blasted his effort into the top, far corner to double the lead.
Madueke, who put in a strong attacking effort throughout the match, nearly had a chance to add a third soon after.
Brewster found the PSV man in plenty of space in front of the goal, but the 19-year-old was visibly frustrated after knocking himself off balance and failing to finish.
— England (@England) September 7, 2021
England, who led attempts by the end of the first half, were more comfortable in the second period.
Kosovo’s best chance of the second period came when Diamant Berisha, subbed on in the 73rd minute, fired a quick right-footed effort from close range but it was easily stopped by Bursik.
Spurs fans would have been concerned to see Oliver Skipp leave the field grimacing with what looked like a groin injury late in the half and was replaced by Tommy Doyle.
But Carsley still had plenty to celebrate as his men held on to clinch the clean sheet and secure a comfortable 2-0 win.
England (4-3-3): 1 Josef Bursik (Stoke City); 2 Max Aarons (Norwich City), 4 Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace) (c), 15 Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Anderlecht, loan from Manchester City), 3 Luke Thomas (Leicester City); 6 Oliver Skipp (Tottenham Hotspur), 8 Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace, loan from Chelsea), 18 James Garner (Nottingham Forest, loan from Manchester United); 23 Noni Madueke (PSV Eindhoven), 7 Rhian Brewster (Sheffield United), 20 Cole Palmer (Manchester City)
Substitutes used: 9 Folarin Balogun (Arsenal) for Brewster 65’, 12 Tyreece John-Jules (Blackpool, loan from Arsenal) for Palmer 72’, 14 Thomas Doyle (Sunderland, loan from Manchester City) for Skipp 82’, 21 Tino Livramento (Southampton) for Madueke 82’
Substitutes not used: 5 Charlie Cresswell, 13 Etienne Green, 16 Levi Colwill, 19 Aaron Ramsey, 22 Josh Griffiths
Goals: Brewster 10’, Palmer 26’
England MU21s heading to Burnley