Saints' youngsters Jimmy-Jay Morgan, Tyler Dibling, and Jayden Meghoma all shone on the international stage last week as England Under-17s advanced in their UEFA European Under-17s Championship qualifying.
In Group 3, England saw off Lithuania and Georgia whilst drawing with Israel to top the table and advance to the elite round, with the Southampton trio playing a key part in each game.
Dibling scored his first goals at under-17s level with a brace against Georgia, whilst Jimmy-Jay Morgan found the net three times during the group stage.
England’s qualifying group action began against Lithuania on Tuesday 25th October, with a controlled 3-1 win to get off to the perfect start.
Both Meghoma and Morgan started the game, playing 70 and 78 minutes respectively, as a brace from Chelsea’s Michael Golding and a late finish from Arsenal’s Ethan Nwaneri guided the Young Lions to three points.
Off the bench, Dibling came on in the 78th minute to make his under-17s debut with a 12-minute cameo in Tblisi, Georgia.
The following game against the group hosts, Georgia, was where Southampton’s youngsters really put their stamp on proceedings in a dominant 6-2 victory.
The win booked England’s place in the elite round of qualifying, as both Dibling and Morgan scored a brace apiece at the GFF Rustavi Academy.
It took just three minutes for the former of the pair to open the scoring for his first under-17s goal, sweeping the ball home unmarked inside the penalty area.
After Georgia equalised from the penalty spot minutes later and Nwaneri put England back in front, all before the ten-minute mark, it was then over to Morgan to put his name on the scoresheet.
In the 28th minute, Saints’ in-form attacker displayed fantastic composure to flick control a bouncing ball in the area and strike an acrobatic volley into the bottom corner.
Arsenal’s Myles Lewis-Skelly made it 4-1 at half time, with the Southampton duo then picking up where they left off to add further gloss to the result in the second half.
In the 57th minute, Morgan drove forward to start a flowing counter attack and finished the move himself with a volley into the top corner after an initial strong save denied Golding’s shot.
Capping an impressive performance, Dibling tapped home at the far post after a neat team move to round off a 6-2 win and score his first goals for the England under-17s.
With qualification already secured, England took to their final game against Israel needing to avoid defeat to top the group.
Meghoma returned to the starting line-up, playing 85 minutes in his second game of the group and his fifth under-17s appearance; Dibling also started, playing just over an hour, but he was substituted for Saints teammate Morgan.
With England 1-0 down, and having missed a penalty, Saints’ youngster-turned-super-sub was on hand to rescue a point and ensure top spot in the table.
In the 83rd minute, Morgan scored the late equaliser with a composed finish
England are now one more round of qualifying away from reaching the 2023 UEFA European Under-17 Championships in Hungary next summer.
The draw for the Elite Round will take place on 8th December 2022, with the top two from each group joining top seeds Netherlands and Spain as well as the four third-placed teams with the best records against the top two in their section.