Thursday 11 Nov
Updated Thursday 11 Nov 23:48

Youth Internationals: Divin Mubama debuts for England U18s as Sonny Perkins scores

Mubama (L) and Perkins (R) representing England
Mubama (L) and Perkins (R) representing England

Four Academy starlets were involved in their respective youth international teams’ fixtures on Thursday evening, with Divin Mubama making his England U18s debut in a match in which Sonny Perkins opened the scoring.

West Ham United U18s and U23s starlets Mubama and Perkins both started in attack for the Young Lions against the Netherlands in the first game of a tour-team friendly tournament at Pinatar Arena, Spain.

And having only made his U18s bow himself in September, scoring his first goal last month, it was Perkins who kickstarted the game with half-an-hour gone, the No7’s second goal in four appearances at that level granting his side the lead.

Picking the ball up out wide on the right, Perkins exchanged passes with Manchester United’s Dan Gore, touched the ball past two Netherlands defenders and flummoxed Manchester City’s Dutch goalkeeper Mikki van Sas with a crafty near-post finish.

The goal was Perkins’ second in four appearances for U18s head coach Ryan Garry, but sadly despite England holding onto that lead until half-time – and the Netherlands missing a penalty – they fell behind to two strikes in the opening six minutes of the second period from Jamabal Gonzaga and Ernest Poku.

England did equalise shortly after through a brilliant goal from Manchester United’s Sam Mather, but the winning goal was to be the Netherlands’, with Iggy Houben firing home on the turn with 15 minutes remaining to take the opening victory.

Perkins would see his night ended by a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident on 85 minutes, with Mubama substituted after 88 minutes.

England U18s’ next game in the tournament sees them take on Belgium – who lost 2-1 to Portugal in their opening game – on Saturday afternoon.

At U19s level, defender Jamal Baptiste was an unused substitute for England on Wednesday afternoon as Ian Foster’s Young Lions got their 2022 UEFA Euro U19 qualification campaign off to the best possible start with a 4-0 win over Andorra. 

The 18-year-old will hope to be involved in the U19s’ next qualification game against Switzerland, which follows on Saturday.

Also representing England on Thursday, this time at U20s level, was West Ham U23s captain Aji Alese, the centre-back playing 78 minutes of the Young Lions’ 2-0 friendly defeat to Portugal at the Estadio Municipal de Leiria.

Despite England having the lion’s share possession, Portugal had the better chances and hit the post in the first half before netting twice midway through the second to take victory.

The appearance marked Alese’s first international showing since featuring against Wales over a year ago, although Andy Edwards’ U20s do not have another fixture until March 2022, when they take on Poland away before facing Germany on home soil.

And U23s midfielder Pierre Ekwah, who made his return for France at youth level last month with two games against Tunisia, made his third consecutive start for France U20s on Thursday as they fell to a 3-2 defeat against Germany U20s at CNF Clairefontaine.

The midfielder departed the game after just 42 minutes, however, by which time he had seen Guingamp striker Yoann Cathline give the home team the lead early on.

With Ekwah substituted, Germany would go on to score three times more through Paul Nebel, Faride Alidou and Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer, overcoming France’s reply through Mohamed Achi.

The friendly fixture was also France U20s’ only game of the month, their next matches being in March 2022 with a double friendly scheduled against Portugal.