Curtis Jones played a key role in England’s 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in their U21 Euro qualifier on Friday, seeing the Young Lions move top of their group.
With a place at the U21 Euros up for grabs this month, Lee Carsley named a very strong England squad for their clashes with the Czech Republic, Albania, Kosovo and Slovenia.
Along with Jones and Harvey Elliott, the ex-Everton midfielder is able to call upon the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Jacob Ramsey, Morgan Gibbs-White, Ryan Sessegnon, Max Aarons, Djed Spence, Anthony Gordon and Luke Thomas.
They are players with experience of regular starts at senior level, many of whom hold key roles in the Premier League, and as such, England are expected to qualify.
The Young Lions took a big step towards doing so on Friday evening, with a 2-1 win seeing them move level on points with the Czech Republic and top of Group G via goal difference.
Crucially, England also hold two games in hand on their main rivals for a place at the 2023 tournament in Romania and Georgia.
Jones made his fifth start for the U21s in the clash in Ceske Budejovice, joining Ramsey and James Garner in a three-man midfield, and the Liverpool No. 17 shone from the off.
It was his smart movement that led to the opening goal through Smith Rowe, Jones seeing his shot deflected into the path of the Arsenal midfielder who hammered home, registering as an assist.
He then played a part in the second of the game, picking up the ball on the right and feeding it through for Gibbs-White on the touchline, who eventually cut back for Ramsey to finish.
Another delightful ball from Jones almost made it 3-0, with Aston Villa striker Cameron Archer only able to send it inches wide of the post.
Daniel Fila got one back for the Czech Republic late on, but victory was England’s, who now need a maximum of four points from their remaining three qualifiers to qualify for Euro 2023.
All three of those games will be played this month, with Jones standing to feature prominently after impressing in his natural midfield role.
Liverpool goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros was an unused substitute for the Czech Republic, as was the case for Sepp van den Berg in the Netherlands under-21s’ 3-0 win over Moldova.
England and the Netherlands are two of only seven countries who are still unbeaten in the qualifying groups, along with Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Belgium.