Six Manchester United starlets complete international duty

by Sam Peoples

Manchester United had plenty of youngsters playing tonight for their respective countries.

James Wilson was rewarded for his fine progress over the last year with a start for England’s U19s tonight and it took him just 12 minutes to make his mark when he gave England the lead. He was replaced on the 54 minute mark by Arsenal’s Chuba Akpom. The 17-year-old’s goalscoring ability is fantastic and he will likely feature quite a few times for Warren Joyce’s U21s this year.

Ben Pearson started and played the full 90 minutes against Estonia in his natural central midfield position. He was named the U18s Player of the Year last season and is expected to feature more prominently for Joyce’s U21s this year. 

Wilfried Zaha and Michael Keane both played the full 90 minutes in Gareth Southgate’s debut as England manager which finished in a 1-0 win for England. It was a quiet game from both sides and Keane was relatively untroubled throughout.  There was an individual moment of brilliance from Zaha with a stunning dribble that showcased his fabulous footwork skills. He was guilty of a poor miss that he should of finished but he will improve his finishing as time goes on.

Despite having a place in the Southgate’s full squad, Nick Powell, Jesse Lingard and Tom Thorpe were all left out of the match day team.

Marnick Vermijl was also in action for Belgium’s U21s tonight as he started in their 3-1 victory over Italy. The 21-year-old made a few good defensive headers but was caught out a couple of times which left Belgium exposed. Vermijl will spend the season on loan with NEC Nijmegen, so if he can use that experience well he will put himself in good stead to challenge Rafael when he returns for the 2014/15 season.

Sam Byrne featured for Ireland’s U19s in their 1-0 victory over Slovenia, coming off the bench in the 67th minute. He almost made an impact within 15 minutes when he turned sharply in the box and rifled a shot in but Slovenia’s goalkeeper was equal to it.

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