Northern Ireland’s Under-17 men’s team lost the second of their two matches which formed a key part of a training camp in England this week.
After defeating Wales 3-0 in their first game, the U17s came up against England at St George’s Park yesterday.
The scoreline was 0-0 at half-time, however England dominated after the break and ran out 6-0 winners.
England started the stronger of the two teams, controlling the bulk of possession with fast flowing football. Northern Ireland stood strong and defended well during the opening stages.
The hosts had a corner which was parried away by Northern Ireland keeper Kai McClean, who rose highest to get his hands to the ball.
Northern Ireland were able to counter attack. There was a fine solo run and good piece of play from Ethan Sousa, however he steered his shot just wide of the post.
McClean was called into action again, pulling off a string of fine saves to keep the score at 0-0.
Northern Ireland were again looking to hit England on the counter attack. A fine through ball found Sam Glenfield, but he dragged his shot wide.
McClean, who was the man of the match, pulled off a superb double save from an England corner. A header came back off the crossbar and the keeper reacted to save the first shot and then managed to block the rebound.
England continued to dominate possession in the second half. The first goal came on 50 minutes and the hosts quickly added a second five minutes later.
A series of changes for Northern Ireland saw the captaincy switch from Joel Thompson to Caolan Donnelly.
England’s third goal came from a corner which was headed into the bottom corner. With Northern Ireland struggling to break out of defence, England piled more pressure on with the fourth goal coming in the 70th minute. Matthew Williamson initially pulled off a great save before the rebound was turned home.
England added a fifth from an impressive 25-yard strike into the bottom corner on 84 minutes. The sixth came three minutes later when a corner was headed home.
It was a big learning experience for the Northern Ireland players against a strong England team, according to U17s boss Gerard Lyttle.
“Despite the result against England the camp was extremely positive and will play a vital role in the players’ development,” he said.
Northern Ireland U17s team v England U17s: Kai McClean, Sean Brown, Darragh McCloskey, Lewis Loughran, Reece Jordan, Caolan Donnelly, Joel Thompson, Shea Brennan, Luca Doherty, Ethan Sousa, Sam Glenfield. Substitutes: (used) Matthew Williamson (GK), Daniel Farley, Kielan Reid, Brendan Hamilton, Bobby Higgins, Jack Berry, Leon Boyd, Bradley Maguire, Jaydyn Winters.