Two Academy players feature in final October internationals


Two West Ham United U23 players were in international action on Tuesday afternoon.

Defender Jamal Baptiste made his fifth appearance for England U19s, playing the full 90 minutes of a narrow 3-2 defeat to Belgium at Marbella Football Center.

In preparation for three back-to-back UEFA U19 European Championship qualifiers in Sweden next month, head coach Ian Foster has seen his Young Lions take on France, Mexico and Belgium in Marbella inside the last six days.

Baptiste, a 17-year-old defender, played the whole 90 minutes in a 3-1 defeat against Les Bleus last week before featuring for the final five minutes of a victory by the same scoreline against Mexico on Sunday.

And the teenager returned to Foster’s starting eleven on Tuesday, this time wearing the No2 shirt for the Young Lions.

Baptiste saw his team go ahead inside the first half through Tottenham forward Dane Scarlett, only for England to concede twice shortly after half-time.

Scarlett drew his side level five minutes later, but Belgium stole victory in the blazing Marbella sunshine when PSV forward Johan Bakayoko rocketed home with ten minutes remaining.

Having featured in all three games, however, Baptiste will hope to have done all that he can to secure his place in Foster’s squad – and hopefully side – for mid-November’s qualifying round fixtures against Andorra, Switzerland and, finally, Sweden.

West Ham U23s goalkeeper Krisztian Hegyi, meanwhile, endured a more challenging Tuesday evening after seeing his side suffer a 5-1 home defeat to runaway Group B leaders Germany in 2023 UEFA European U21 Championship qualification.

The shot-stopper was unlucky to run into a clinical Germany side, who ran away with proceedings in the second half at Szent Gellért Fórum in Szeged.

Having previously made five crucial saves to help his team to salvage a late 2-2 draw at home to Poland last Friday, Hungary now sit fourth in the group on seven points, and still have six games in which to catch up with second-placed Israel (on nine points) to secure a place in the play-offs.

West Ham United U18s captain Michael Forbes, meanwhile, did not feature for Northern Ireland U19s in their final U19 European Championship qualifier on Tuesday, missing the match due to injury.

The centre-back had started his side’s 2-0 defeats to Denmark and Czech Republic this week, but was ruled out of a 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan which ultimately was not enough to see Northern Ireland remain in contention for a place at next summer’s finals in Slovakia.

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