Sammy Ameobi made his starting debut last night for the England U21 side in Belgium.
Sammy Ameobi in action last night in Belgium
But it was a surprise defeat for England after four successive wins in their Group 10, and after England were 1-0 up at the half, Belgium came back and won with two goals in the last 18 minutes, with the winner coming in injury time goal from substitute Oma El Kaddouiri.
England are still comfortably leading their Group 10 after five games on 12 points with Belgium second on 8 points, but Norway also have a game in hand on 7 points.
Ameobi played for 62 minutes before being replaced by Sunderland’s Gary Gardner, and England had gone ahead in the game with a wonderful individual goal from Liverpool’s Martin Kelly after just 14 minutes.
Jens Naessens pulled one back for Belgium after 72 minutes before the shock winner in the first minute of injury time came, and was England’s first defeat in the tournament.
Only yesterday, Assistant Manager John Carver had talked about the 19 year-old who has quickly impressed at the U21 level:
“He’s done really well this season, and had a good pre-season.” “He’s on the fringes of the team, and he’s worked hard for his opportunities.”
“I think it’s great he played for England Under-21s – he deserved the opportunity.” “He’s done well when he’s come on in the last couple of games.”
“He came on against Everton and had an influence on the game.” “He’s still got a lot of learning to do. But he’s already influencing games, and having an impact.”
The England captain last night was Jordan Henderson, the former Sunderland midfielder and now at Liverpool with Andy Carroll, and he had this to say after the game:
“We are very disappointed. We felt we did well in the second half when we settled into the game and I personally had a chance to finish it but we are still top of the group, in a good position and we need to win our last three games,”
“The games are not easy but we came here to do a job and unfortunately we didn’t.”“We have a lot of work to do and hopefully this will give us a wake up call for the games ahead.”
“I think we could have started better, but in the second half we settled down and had a couple of chances.” “We need to be more streetwise in the last minutes to not concede but we will learn from that and come back stronger.”
Sammy’s brother Shola played 20 times for the England U21s with 7 goals, and Sammy is on his way to emulating his older brother at International level, and maybe even eventually make the full England side – who knows?