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England U21s beat Kazakhstan to reach Euros

Demarai Gray

Demarai Gray was a member of the Leicester City squad which won the Premier League last season

England Under-21s booked their place at next summer’s European Championship with a game to spare as they won in Kazakhstan.

Demarai Gray put the visitors in front early on by sidefooting in Nathan Redmond’s low, deflected cross.

England were almost punished for not building on their lead but Brendan Galloway blocked an Alisher Suley shot.

Gray put Ruben Loftus-Cheek in on goal and although his attempted chip was saved, England took all three points.

  • Thursday’s other U21 report: Ukraine 1-1 Northern Ireland

Boothroyd off to winning start

Gareth Southgate had led the U21s to the brink of qualification but, after he took interim charge of the England senior side following Sam Allardyce’s exit, U20s coach Aidy Boothroyd replaced him on a temporary basis.

Boothroyd said he was there to “help the team to get themselves over the line” and reach Euro 2017 in Poland in June.

And he duly did so, with unbeaten England topping Group Nine, having won five of their seven games to secure a sixth successive place in the finals tournament.

Their final group game will be on Tuesday, 11 October when they host Bosnia and Herzegovina in Walsall.

England lack cutting edge

Boothroyd resisted the temptation to start with striker Tammy Abraham, who has netted 11 goals in 14 games in all competitions since moving to Bristol City on loan from Chelsea for the season.

And despite the impressive Gray’s first goal for the U21s getting the visitors off to a promising start, a dominant England failed to add to their lead as they lacked a cutting edge up front.

Marcus Rashford had scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Norway last time out but was absent having been called up to the senior England side.

He was sorely missed as, despite Gray and Nathan Redmond – who are more used to playing as wingers – appearing to share striking duties with Loftus-Cheek in an advanced midfield role in Kazakhstan, England struggled to make the most of their possession.

What they said:

England U21 interim boss Aidy Boothroyd told BT Sport: “Considering the occasion, need to get points and the partisan atmosphere, I thought that the way we played was controlled.

“I thought we created some really good chances, particularly in the first half, and perhaps could be a bit disappointed we didn’t score more goals.

“Demarai did very well. I thought it was a very good team performance all the way through but Demarai took his goal very well.”

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Live Text

Match ends, Kazakhstan U21 0, England U21 1.

Second Half ends, Kazakhstan U21 0, England U21 1.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Yerkebulan Tungyshbayev (Kazakhstan U21) because of an injury.

Offside, Kazakhstan U21. Yerkebulan Tungyshbayev tries a through ball, but Berik Shaikhov is caught offside.

Foul by Nathaniel Chalobah (England U21).

Miras Tuliev (Kazakhstan U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Rafkat Aslan (Kazakhstan U21) right footed shot from long range on the right is too high from a direct free kick.

Foul by Rob Holding (England U21).

Yerkebulan Tungyshbayev (Kazakhstan U21) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt saved. Tammy Abraham (England U21) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Nathan Redmond with a cross.

Substitution, Kazakhstan U21. Kuanysh Kalmuratov replaces Yan Vorogovskiy.

Substitution, England U21. Tammy Abraham replaces Demarai Gray.

Brendan Galloway (England U21) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Abat Aimbetov (Kazakhstan U21).

Corner, England U21. Conceded by Stanislav Pavlov.

Attempt saved. Demarai Gray (England U21) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Lewis Baker.

Attempt missed. Altynbek Saparov (Kazakhstan U21) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Attempt blocked. Abat Aimbetov (Kazakhstan U21) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Altynbek Saparov.

Substitution, Kazakhstan U21. Abat Aimbetov replaces Maxim Fedin.

Didar Zhalmukan (Kazakhstan U21) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Brendan Galloway (England U21) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Didar Zhalmukan (Kazakhstan U21).

Substitution, England U21. Duncan Watmore replaces Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Attempt missed. Nathan Redmond (England U21) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse following a corner.

Corner, England U21. Conceded by Yerkebulan Tungyshbayev.

Attempt blocked. Calum Chambers (England U21) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse with a cross.

Corner, England U21. Conceded by Altynbek Saparov.

Calum Chambers (England U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Maxim Fedin (Kazakhstan U21).

Attempt missed. Maxim Fedin (Kazakhstan U21) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Yerkebulan Tungyshbayev.

Demarai Gray (England U21) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Altynbek Saparov (Kazakhstan U21).

Attempt missed. Nathan Redmond (England U21) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse.

Attempt saved. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (England U21) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Demarai Gray with a through ball.

Corner, England U21. Conceded by Rafkat Aslan.

Attempt missed. Altynbek Saparov (Kazakhstan U21) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the left. Assisted by Miras Tuliev.

Attempt missed. Demarai Gray (England U21) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse.

Foul by Nathan Redmond (England U21).

Berik Shaikhov (Kazakhstan U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.