City quartet help England Under-21s win in friendlies

Cole Palmer, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Tommy Doyle and Luke Mbete all starred as the England Under-21s beat Italy 2-0 in an international friendly.

In a clash between two of next summer’s pre-tournament favorites for the 2023 European U21 Championships, it was the Three Lions who prevailed despite the hosts’ 20 penalty kicks.

Victory was sealed in the opening five minutes at Pescara with a brace from Rhian Brewster enough to secure victory for Lee Carsley’s side.

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Palmer was heavily involved in the opener, when his vicious strike towards goal from the right was picked up by Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher.

The midfielder was caught by Edoardo Bove inside the box as he pulled the trigger, leaving Brewster to step in and do the honors from the spot.

And the Sheffield United striker doubled just two minutes later with an impressive finish after being sent through on goal by Lille’s Angel Gomes.

The hosts quickly rallied soon after, and England were grateful to Burnley on loan Harwood-Bellis for a fine sliding challenge that stopped Nicolo Cambiaghi in his tracks before the break.

With 20 players to play, Palmer was given a well-earned rest, being replaced by Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott, while Tommy Doyle – currently on loan at Sheffield United – was brought on the bench to help see victory through.

And that mission was made a little easier with five minutes to play when midfielder Nicolo Rovella received a second yellow for a late challenge on Aston Villa’s Jacob Ramsey.

Harwood-Bellis would be replaced in stoppage time by fellow City defender and on loan from Huddersfield Luke Mbete, while James Trafford and James McAtee remained unused substitutes for the Three Lions.

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