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Eddie Nketiah sets England U-21 record

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The Arsenal striker breaks goal scoring record held by Alan Shearer and Francis Jeffers.

England U21 v Turkey U21 - UEFA Euro Under 21 Qualifier Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images

At 21, Eddie Nketiah just became an English football record-holder. His 88th minute goal against the Turkish U-21 national team made him the all-time top scorer for England’s U-21 side. His 14 goals for the Young Lions puts him above Alan Shearer and Francis Jeffers.

It appeared that Nketiah’s chance at the record had gone when his 84th minute penalty kick hit the post. But apparently, the striker wanted to do it the old-fashioned way — from open play. Just four minutes later, he received a Ryan Sessegnon pass, beat two defenders, and slotted the ball into the back of the net.

When Nketiah scored, England was up 1-0 on an own goal from Turkish defender Hüseyin Türkmen. Turns out, the Three Lions needed Nketiah’s mark to hold off a stoppage time goal from Turkey. The win secured the England U-21’s a spot in next summer’s U-21 European Championship being held in Hungary and Slovenia.

Nketiah broke the goal scoring record in just his 12th match for Aidy Boothroyd’s side. Shearer previously held the record along with Jeffers, the once highly touted Arsenal “Fox in the Box.” Shearer had 13 goals in 11 appearances, while it took Jeffers 16 matches to score 13.

Nketiah’s success with the U-21’s has led to talk of him breaking into Gareth Southgate’s senior squad. When asked about his striker’s potential to become a part of the national team, Boothroyd had nothing but praise for Nketiah.

Eddie is destined for some big things. How far can he go? He will have to be playing regular games for his club and be scoring goals. I’ve had him for two and a half years now and we’ve seen him get stronger and stronger as he has gone along. Hopefully, we can see him make that next step becoming a regular with Arsenal and be a regular with the seniors.

When asked about setting a new record Nketiah said, “It is an amazing feeling. To get the record and be alongside those names and players is a dream come true.”