All four of Saints’ England Under-19 stars were in action tonight as the young Three Lions won 3-0 against Turkey at Chester.
The friendly was the perfect opportunity for the St Mary’s youngsters to show what they were capable of before coach Noel Blake selects his side for the European Championship Elite Qualifying stage in May.
Matt Targett started at left-back for his second appearance for the Under-19s, captain Calum Chambers was utilised in an unfamiliar position at centre back in his 15th game, while Sam Gallagher made his debut as the lone frontman after defecting from Scotland.
Midfielder Harrison Reed came on at half-time for Chambers.
Manchester City’s Devante Cole opened the scoring in the first half before Chelsea’s Lewis Baker added a second half penalty which was won by Gallagher.
Callum Robinson added a third as the Lions roared to victory over a Turkey side that only showed moments of promise.
Portsmouth-born John Swift (Chelsea) looked lively early on before Chambers, having started in his usual right back position, was moved to centre half, where he was tasked with handling towering striker Mustafa Batuhan Altinbas.
It’s to Chambers’ credit that Turkey remained mostly quiet through the first-half with a free kick from Orkan Cinar and a shot from the edge of the box by Niyaz the only time ‘keeper Mitchell Beeney was pulled into proper action. Gallagher, playing at the spearhead of the England attack, should have scored early on.
After a tricky run, Swift played in Cole who squared to the Saints youngster, but he scuffed his attempt. On 22 minutes Blake’s side was ahead.
Two of the standout performers of the half, Swift and Cole, linked brilliantly as the latter was played into the box on the right hand side. It looked for a moment as if he’d play in Gallagher but Cole took on goal-scoring responsibilities himself, hammering a shot in.
Reed was brought on for Chambers at half-time, with Isaac Hayden dropping into the vacated spot at centre half.
The stocky midfielder wasted little time in getting stuck and was demonstrating some neat footwork.
Gallagher picked up the ball on the right wing and swung in a cross for Swift, whose first time shot didn’t trouble keeper Demir. Gallagher then made a darting run into the box and was taken down by Tufan as the referee pointed to the spot. The penalty was neatly scored by Baker.
The final goal came as Aston Villa man Robinson, on as a substitute for Cole, twisted in the box and fired a fairly pedestrian shot at Demir. It should have been a fairly straightforward take but it slipped between the keeper’s legs. Targett and Gallagher were taken off late on as England closed out the game.