Scotland hopeful Shelvey nets for England
JONJO SHELVEY, who last week said he hadn’t ruled out playing for Scotland, scored one and set up another as England moved within touching distance of the Uefa Under-21 Championship play-offs with a 2-0 victory in Azerbaijan.
The Liverpool midfielder, who has a Scottish grandfather, fired his first goal for England under-21s after Steven Caulker had netted his third, to send Stuart Pearce’s men five points clear at the top of qualifying Group Eight with one match remaining on Monday against Norway.
Yesterday’s victory was England’s sixth out of their seven qualifiers and saw Pearce hand a debut to Thomas Ince, son of former England star Paul, on an artificial pitch against opponents England had thrashed 6-0 a year earlier.
And, after Javid Imamverdiyev had gone close for the hosts, England assumed total control and some delightful football saw Wilfried Zaha bamboozle the Azeri defence and fire into the side netting.
Centre-back Caulker powered England ahead in the 28th minute, the Tottenham man heading in Shelvey’s left-wing free-kick.
Caulker should have made it 2-0 two minutes later when he glanced Ince’s far-post cross wide. Caulker also saw another header go to waste shortly before half-time and Zaha fired a good chance over shortly after the restart.
Azerbaijan went for broke in the final 10 minutes with a double substitution.
But it backfired seven minutes from time as Sunderland striker Connor Wickham nodded Caulker’s long ball into the path of Shelvey, who volleyed emphatically beyond the onrushing Azerbaijan goalkeeper Salahat Agayev.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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