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EFL graduates steal the show at Wembley

26 March 2021

It was a night to remember for Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins, as the former LFE apprentice and Exeter City player found the back of the net on his senior England debut.

The Three Lions ran riot at Wembley in their 2022 World Cup Qualifier against San Marino, with Watkins rounding off the scoring in a 5-0 victory. 

Gareth Southgate’s starting XI was littered with players that had come through EFL academies, made their senior debut in the EFL or in an EFL competition. 

Queens Park Rangers academy graduate, Raheem Sterling, led out his team-mates at the National Stadium and also found himself on the scoresheet on the night, before handing the armband to Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Conor Coady, who spent five seasons at EFL level.

Southampton’s midfield maestro, James Ward-Prowse, scored his first goal for England with a tidy finish inside 15 minutes, with former Sheffield United striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin also netting either side of half-time in the victory. 

Former Birmingham City and current Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham made his second appearance for the national team, and the 17-year-old was one of the standout individuals in the second half against San Marino. 

Bellingham came within inches of netting his first goal for England on two occasions, firstly heading over from close range and then via an acrobatic bicycle-kick. 

Former Derby County loanee Mason Mount also came close to breaking a 13-year record held by Xavi, for creating the most chances in open play. His eight chances left him one shy of the record, which was set back in 2008 for Spain against Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

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