Turkey U21 2-3 England U21: Eddie Nketiah scores twice as Young Lions come from behind to beat Turkey
- England led through Eddie Nketiah but Turkey fought back to make it 2-1
- Nketiah then struck again in the second half to make it 2-2 on 74 minutes
- Sixty seconds later, Reiss Nelson’s solo run and finish gave England victory
Perseverance paid for England’s new-look Under 21s as two goals in a minute avoided a continuation of the summer gloom.
Turkey were strangling the Young Lions before a switch in formation prompted resurgence and three morale-boosting points. Eddie Nketiah pounced to equalise with 16 minutes remaining before suspect goalkeeping allowed Reiss Nelson’s shot to squirm in seconds later.
Fortunate, sure, but that does not matter for a squad still acquainting themselves. Aidy Boothroyd’s side had squandered an early lead but found late impetus and the European Championship qualifying group will be in their hands with victory over Kosovo in Hull on Monday.
Eddie Nketiah is surrounded after scoring in England Under-21s’ victory over Turkey
The youngster celebrates with his team-mates as England came from behind to win
‘We got put on our backsides and we had to respond,’ Boothroyd said. ‘A lot of teams would go under in that atmosphere. We don’t just want a team that can win but one that plays with style. You don’t really know until you test it under pressure.’
Turkey (4-2-3-1): Bayindir; Muldur, Turkmen, Tagir, Sertel; Ozcan (Oktay 45), B Ozdemir (Yuksel 81); Kutucu, Kokcu, Sinik (Uner 72); Dervisoglu
Subs not used: Dadakdeniz, Dursun, O Ozdemir, Berisbek, Ozkacar, Saglam
England (4-3-3): Ramsdale; Aarons, Guehi, Chalobah, Panzo, Sessegnon (Greenwood 59); Gibbs-White (Godfrey 81), Davies, Foden; Nketiah, Nelson (Brewster 79)
Subs not used: Balcombe, Richards, Skipp, Cantwell, Justin, Eze
Referee: Luis Godinho
Play they certainly did, Phil Foden the standout with two assists. His instinctive dart beyond the strikers made the opening goal, after just four minutes, collecting Stephen Sessegnon’s clever pass.
The eventual cross should have been cut out but Nketiah stood and waited, stabbing in. Every bit the poacher as his mentor, Ian Wright.
Encouraging signs came from aggressive running in midfield, the deft first-time pop offs in tight spaces. A final ball occasionally lacked but Nelson and Sessegnon will both think they ought to have scored before half-time. Nelson in particular, after he contrived to steer wide when unmarked six yards out.
For all the class and positivity on the ball, Boothroyd’s side were left shaken when turned around in midfield. The back five – all debutants – were left to deal with quick waves of counter-attacking pressure from the hosts, who equalised after 25 minutes.
Trevor Chalobah didn’t win the ball on halfway and from there England were playing catch up, the ball…