Eddie Nketiah’s rise continue as the Gunners forward, who handed captain armband for England U21s hit a perfect hat-trick in 6-0 victory over Kosovo.
England U21s are moving closer to next year’s European Championship, this a fifth consecutive qualifying victory, and their captain for the night is now just two short of Shearer’s 13 at this level. A breakthrough took time, patience required against combative opposition, but ended in a rout.
Eddie Nketiah’s attention to improving his link-up play with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is clearly paying dividends yet, crucially, he remained just as ruthless inside the box.
Three goals in 10 minutes took the game away from Kosovo, with Chelsea highly-rated midfielder Conor Gallagher’s contribution and a first goal on debut for Jude Bellingham other highlights in Pristina.
Eddie Nketiah had struck the bar from Conor Gallagher’s free-kick just after half-time but opened the scoring six minutes into the second half.
Tom Davies had broken ranks from midfield, sauntering inside the box, to stand a cross up for the striker, waiting at the back post to nod home unmarked.
That was a poacher’s effort and so was the second, four minutes later. Tom Davies was again involved, his skewed shot finding a loitering Nketiah and his instincts were sharp, spinning to clip past Florian Smakiqi. Kosovo cried offside but Nketiah was clearly on.
The hat-trick was complete just after the hour, Gallagher clumsily hauled down inside the box. Eddie Nketiah stroked home, right footed, yet England were not done.
Dortmund midfielder Bellingham made an instant impact from the bench. Reiss Nelson had notched the fourth, then the 18-year-old came into his own, starting a move for Ryan Sessegnon’s fifth, before then proving why the Bundesliga club paid £25million for him.
Bellingham hunted possession inside the box, dropped a shoulder, and caressed into the far corner, in a move that bodes very well for the future.