Sonny Perkins on target for England U18s in Marbella

Sonny Perkins (wearing No20) lining up for England U18s against Russia

Academy of Football attacker Sonny Perkins scored his first goal for England U18s in the Young Lions’ 3-0 win over Russia U18s on Monday afternoon.

The 17-year-old – who has recently broken into the Hammers’ U23s squad, despite being just a second-year scholar in age group – only made his debut for England at U18s level last month in a friendly against Wales.

But in what was only his third appearance at this level, Perkins – who had also appeared for the final ten minutes of Thursday’s last-gasp 2-1 defeat to Norway – on this occasion opened the scoring against Russia to set his team on their way to a convincing friendly victory.

Led by new head coach Ryan Garry, who left Arsenal to take charge prior to this month’s training camp at Marbella Football Center, England U18s put in a strong display from the off, with Perkins making that dominance count midway through the first half.

Continuing his fine form in front of goal this season at Club level, where Perkins has netted five times in ten Academy appearances, the versatile 17-year-old started the move by bringing down James Clarridge’s cross-field pass to the right-hand side.

From there, Perkins drove into the area and, jinking inside and burying a fierce low shot from a tight angle to set his team on their way to victory.

Ten minutes later, Fulham forward Michael Olakigbe made it two after picking a Russian defender’s pocket and slotting home. And gloss was duly placed on the scoreline by Chelsea youngster Lewis Hall, who swept home from Olakigbe’s pull-back in the second half.

Perkins will hope to retain his place in Garry's thinking for future friendlies moving forwards, with no formal competitions for European U18s teams currently run.

Over the weekend, Perkins’ Academy teammate Jamal Baptiste played the final five minutes of England U19s’ 3-1 victory over Mexico U19s at the same venue on Saturday, having played the entirety of a friendly defeat to France U19s three days prior.

England U19s’ final friendly is against Belgium, also at Marbella Football Center, ahead of next month’s UEFA U19 European Championship qualifiers.

Northern Ireland U19s’ own qualification hopes were ended on Saturday with a second successive 2-0 defeat, this time at the hands of Czech Republic.

Academy defender, and West Ham U18s captain, Michael Forbes once again played the full 90 minutes for his country in Frydek-Mistek.

And on Sunday, teenage midfielder Pierre Ekwah started as France U20s were held to a goalless draw in the second of two friendly internationals with Tunisia in Mallemort.

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