While England’s senior side are muddling through a far from daunting international break double-header of San Marino and Estonia, the U21s face a pressure-filled playoff against Croatia.
The tie will determine which side qualifies for the U21 European Championship in Czech Republic next summer, and is delicately poised at 2-1 to England after the first-leg.
In truth it could have been much worse for the Young Lions, who were 1-0 down at Molineux from the 13th minute until just short of the hour mark, when Harry Kane nodded in the equaliser.
The Tottenham Hotspur forward has now bagged six goals in eight U21 appearances, a fine record, but not a patch on that of his strike partner Saido Berahino.
The West Brom youngster was the joint-top scorer in the group stage of qualifying, scoring nine times in eight games, and his strike against Croatia took him to 10 in 12 games overall.
Berahino was a constant menace as England desperately tried to find a winner, and he proved decisive as he both won and converted a late penalty to make it 2-1.
The second-leg will be played in Croatia on Tuesday next week, and England’s chances of progression look good considering the in form pairing they have up top.
The Baggies player has been in scintillating form for his club as well, scoring five times in the Premier League to sit joint-second in the scorer charts behind only the superhuman Diego Costa.
Kane too has shone for his club, scoring four times in all competitions to put pressure on both Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado for a starting spot at Spurs.
Both youngsters face tough fixtures for their clubs when they return from international duty.
Spurs are away at Manchester City, a match they are 11/2 to win, while West Brom host Manchester United, with the Baggies priced at 7/2 for victory.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing.
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