If only it was this easy for England’s senior team to achieve a win. Scotland were outclassed on Friday night as Aidy Boothroyd’s under-21 team eased past them in a European Championship qualifier at Middlesbrough.
Josh Onomah, Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke scored England’s goals and there should have been more against a Scotland side that replied through Chris Cadden in a rare attack.
Scotland did have a right to feel optimistic after a win in their opening group game against the Netherlands, who had already held England to a draw.
But it was optimism that swiftly evaporated. England benefited from featuring five of the players who played together when they won the under-20’s World Cup in June and soon displayed superior composure on the ball as they dominated possession.
John Souttar, Scotland’s Hearts defender, delayed the opening goal with a well-timed interception that deprived Abraham of a chance in the 12th minute, but the breakthrough came only two minutes later.
Onomah, the Tottenham midfielder who is on loan at Aston Villa, was 25 yards from goal when he chested down Scott McKenna’s headed clearance before steering a volley over goalkeeper Ryan Fulton.
Scotland were fortunate not to concede at least one more goal before the interval, notably when Abraham, at full stretch to reach an excellent cross from Trent Walker-Peters, poked the ball against a post. Demarai Gray also went close from 20 yards and Abraham was deprived of a goal when his 32nd shot hit Liam Smith on the line after Dael Fry, playing in front of his home crowd, headed the ball down.
Scotland’s only response in the opening 45 minutes was as feeble as their first-half performance when Dominic Thomas’s 27th minute shot lacked the pace and accuracy needed to trouble goalkeeper Angus Gunn.
The second-half that was again controlled by England, who added their second goal through Abraham’s 49th minute penalty that was awarded when he stumbled under a challenge from Souttar.
Scotland’s only chance of the half brought a 78th minute goal from Chris Cadden after Joe Gomez failed to clear, but Solanke replied seconds later after unselfish work by Abraham.