England Under-21s midfielder Angel Gomes says there is “no better time to be an England player” after Gareth Southgate watched his side beat Israel to qualify for the quarter-finals of the European Championship in Georgia.
Anthony Gordon powered home a 16th-minute header from a Morgan Gibbs-White cross to open the scoring.
Gibbs-White set up England’s second, finding Emile Smith Rowe in the 68th minute to fire home a low shot.
The win means England top Group C.
They face the runners-up from Group A next with hosts Georgia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal all able to qualify for the knockout stage from that pool.
England manager Southgate was in attendance at the Ramaz Shengelia Stadium in Kutaisi and a number of the U21 side will have impressed the Three Lions boss.
Nottingham Forest’s Gibbs-White was excellent while Arsenal’s Smith Rowe, the only player in the squad with a senior cap, scored his second goal in as many matches after also having an opener disallowed.
“It’s a long tournament, we all just want to do well and I want to play and progress,” said Lille’s Gomes.
“The manager, Southgate, as we can see Marc Guehi, a lot of young players are getting opportunities. There’s no better time to be a young England player.”
Israel rarely threatened and Oscar Gloukh’s free-kick on the stroke of half-time, saved low by Manchester City’s James Trafford, was their only shot on target.
Germany lost 2-1 to the Czech Republic in the group’s other game and the defending champions need to beat Lee Carsley’s England – who have not conceded so far – on Wednesday to progress.
Smith Rowe says the squad are confident they can go on to win the tournament.
“We had that talk before we even came over here. We have the confidence that we want to make a statement in this tournament and believe that we can go all the way and win it. We just have to make sure we take each game as it comes,” he said.
“There’s not many days between the games so we have to recover quick. It’s a great bunch of lads. Everyone helps each other. Even the boys that haven’t played are really helping us help the team.”
England have received praise for the way they have included so many attacking players into their starting line-up.
“I still think there’s a lot more to come from this team,” manager Lee Carsley said.
“They’ve got other levels they can go to. We have to be better. I’ve been impressed with Anthony, we’re trying to get him into unorthodox positions.”
- 16JohnsonBooked at 45mins
- 23MaduekeSubstituted forPalmerat 61′minutes
- 21GomesSubstituted forSkippat 70′minutes
- 17JonesBooked at 75mins
- 10Smith RoweSubstituted forElliottat 70′minutes
- 7Gibbs-WhiteSubstituted forJ Ramseyat 79′minutes
- 11GordonSubstituted forArcherat 61′minutes
- 8J Ramsey
- 13KhalailiSubstituted forHajajat 45′minutesBooked at 76mins
- 15AzulaySubstituted forGiornoat 59′minutes
- 20LayousSubstituted forHofmeisterat 59′minutes
- 11TurgemanSubstituted forBiluat 77′minutes
- 19Abu Rumi
Match ends, England U21 2, Israel U21 0.
Second Half ends, England U21 2, Israel U21 0.
Cameron Archer (England U21) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Karem Jaber (Israel U21).
Levi Colwill (England U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Oz Bilu (Israel U21).
Corner, England U21. Conceded by Yoav Hofmeister.
Attempt blocked. Jacob Ramsey (England U21) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Cole Palmer.
Hand ball by Omri Gandelman (Israel U21).
Foul by Jacob Ramsey (England U21).
Karem Jaber (Israel U21) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt blocked. Cole Palmer (England U21) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Harvey Elliott.
Corner, Israel U21. Conceded by James Garner.
Substitution, England U21. Jacob Ramsey replaces Morgan Gibbs-White.
James Garner (England U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Roy Revivo (Israel U21).
Substitution, Israel U21. Oz Bilu replaces Dor Turgeman.
Ilay Hajaj (Israel U21) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Curtis Jones (England U21) is shown the yellow card.
Ben Johnson (England U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.