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Qualification clinched for Garner

Qualification clinched for Garner

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James Garner.

James Garner has helped England Under-21s qualify for next year’s European Championship finals.

The young Lions booked their place in Romania and Georgia with a 3-0 victory over Albania in Chesterfield, courtesy of goals from Folarin Balogun (2) and Cameron Archer.

Garner spent last season on loan at Nottingham Forest, who gained promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs, and continues to enjoy success. The cultured midfielder came off the bench for Liverpool’s Curtis Jones at the Technique Stadium, four minutes before Aston Villa attacker Archer’s goal clinched a comprehensive win.

Former Red Angel Gomes, currently at Lille, was also involved, playing the full 90 minutes.

James Garner in action for England Under-21s on Tuesday.

Lee Carsley’s side have two games left, against Kosovo on Friday and Slovenia next Monday, but are three points clear of second-placed Czech Republic with a superior head-to-head record.

Northern Ireland conceded a late equaliser to Lithuania, six minutes into stoppage time, and are unable to qualify. Dermot Mee and Ethan Galbraith started in the 1-1 draw, in their country’s final group fixture.

Republic of Ireland, where John O’Shea is assistant coach, can still get through and are only one point adrift of group leaders Italy, while Matej Kovar’s Czech Republic are in the play-offs, along with Martin Svidersky’s Slovakia.

Sixteen teams will compete in the finals with all players born after 1 January 2000 eligible to feature in the tournament, which kicks off in June 2023.

Co-hosts Romania and Georgia, plus Germany, Spain, Portugal and Belgium have also already qualified, along with England.

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