Everton International round-up: Young Lions star during break

Everton had a number of players away on International duty for their home nations during their recent break, with the majority tasting success in some form or another.

Pickford keeps it clean

Jordan Pickford kept a clean sheet for England during the Three Lions’ 1-0 victory over the Netherlands.

The 24-year-old was solid and assured for the most part for Gareth Southgate’s side and even had a hand in the goal - starting the move with a piece of fine distribution play inside his own half.

The friendly in Amsterdam was also the first game in charge of his country for former Everton boss Ronald Koeman.

Pickford watched from the sidelines during England’s draw with Italy at Wembley, as Stoke City’s Jack Butland was given his chance to state his case to be England’s number one for the World Cup.

The battle for the gloves will continue when Southgate’s side reconvene for a set of friendlies against Nigeria and Costa Rica before departing for Russia but another performance or two like his one in Amsterdam may see Pickford make the position his own.

Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Young Lions excel

Everton had five players in action for England’s Under-21s over their two games - as they beat Ukraine 2-1 at Bramall Lane and Romania at Molineux.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, on his return to Sheffield, opened the scoring for the Young Lions with a smart finish just before the half-time interval.

The forward however was upstaged by full-back Jonjoe Kenny as he was named man of the match during the win. Tom Davies took part in the win and was his usual self - keeping the ball moving with smart touches in midfield.

Ademola Lookman was a late second-half substitute for Aidy Boothroyd’s side.

Lookman, however, starred in Boothroyd’s side win over Romania at Molineux on Saturday night. The on-loan winger was dangerous throughout and was the Young Lions star man night.

Fellow loanee Kieran Dowell completed 84 minutes during the win and played a key role in creating chances for forward Tammy Abraham.

Dowell's clever back-heel almost helped cap off an excellent move, creating space for a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold that Abraham could only head over.

photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Funes Mori watches on

Despite being called up by Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli, Ramiro Funes Mori was not named in either of the matchday squads for Argentina’s two friendlies.

La Albiceleste ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over Italy at the Etihad Stadium on Friday night but Mori watched from the sidelines - only venturing on to the pitch to watch his compatriots warm up.

He again watched on from the sidelines as Argentina were thrashed 6-1 by Spain at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.

Despite being called up by Argentina boss Sampaoli, it was unclear whether or not the defender would be given a chance in either friendly as he continues his return to fitness from a long-term knee injury.

His lack of involvement suggests he will be continuing that return for a little while longer.

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Vlasic brace

Nikola Vlasic bagged a brace for Croatia Under-21s in their 4-0 win over Moldova. A goal either side of half-time helped the Croats on their way to three points in their Euro Under-21 qualifying campaign.

However, he was also involved in the qualifying game prior as Croatia were beaten by the Czech Republic.


Cenk Tosun, played for 76 minutes, winning his 27th cap for Turkey in a 2-2 draw in Montenegro after staring off against Seamus Coleman during the 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland in the game prior.

Both Blues played for just over an hour before being substituted for their respective nations.

Oumar Niasse was an unused substitute as Senegal played out a 0-0 draw with Bosnia & Herzegovina. He did, however, make a cameo appearance against Uzbekistan on Friday afternoon.

Senegalese counterpart Idrissa Gana Gueye missed both games through injury and is set to be sidelined for a couple of weeks.

Cuco Martina started and completed a full 90 minutes twice for as Curacao they played Bolivia in a pair of back-to-back friendlies. The first game finished as a 1-1 draw whilst the Martina-led Curacao won the second game 1-0.

Elsewhere, the on-loan pair of Mo Besic and Kevin Mirallas were given run-outs for their countries.

Besic played 84 minutes in the 1-0 win over Bulgaria, however, he was only a late second-half substitute for Bosnia & Herzegovina’s draw with Senegal.

Mirallas only managed to play 11 minutes for Belgium during their win over Saudi Arabia