England U21 4-1 Andorra U21: Young Lions ease to win with Folarin Balogun, Jacob Ramsey, Morgan Gibbs-White and Anthony Gordon all on target in routine European qualifier victory
By Jack Gaughan,
This was the blueprint for England’s Under 21s, operating with more risk and expanse. Good to watch and they might have reached double figures against Andorra. Maybe they should have.
It was only Andorra but then again, Andorra have made a little habit of embarrassing them recently – drawing in the last qualifying campaign and threatening the same in the away tie five months ago.
No danger of that in Bournemouth last night. Lee Carsley was encouraged by the display but wants more, describing this as ‘an OK performance’.
England are still only second in their European Championship qualifying group behind Czech Republic but in charge with two games in hand.
Carsley had spent much of the week discussing different tactical styles, finding ways of not just beating qualification minnows but completely dominating them.
He floated the idea of a back three yet on Friday night it often ended up a fluid front five and as such, chances aplenty.
The countless opportunities – and some wastefulness - were not the takeaway from this victory, more the manner of performance before the game drifted.
The way they approached this task spoke to how Carsley wants to control the football, showing the sort of intent that might help ward off any repeat of last year’s limp group stage exit when the finals come round again.
‘I wanted them to play with more risk,’ Carsley said. ‘It was OK. There is a lot more to come. I want to attack, I want to attack. We’ve got a lot of exciting players. I’d love us to be more clinical with more quality in front of goal.’
They were ahead within six minutes – and should have been given a penalty before then – when Folarin Balogun’s deft chip finished a super move down the right involving the energetic Tino Livramento.
Jacob Ramsey effectively ended this as a contest 11 minutes before half-time, crashing home a loose ball from outside the area.
It might have been five or six by then, Morgan Gibbs-White later mopping up a third after Balogun’s effort was saved.
Andorra pegged one back, a stunning solo effort by Albert Rosas, before substitute Anthony Gordon’s perfectly controlled volley rounded the night off.
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