Morrison shines for young Lions
Ravel Morrison's majestic display inspired England Under-21s to an impressive victory against Lithuania as the West Ham midfielder's rise from bad boy to poster boy continues apace.
- Related Content
After years in which his off-pitch activities made the headlines, the 20-year-old is beginning to show just why Sir Alex Ferguson rated him among the most talented teenagers he had seen at Manchester United.
Fresh from netting an early contender for goal of the season in West Ham's 3-0 win at Tottenham, Morrison spent the international break with an England side for the first time in three years.
The midfielder made his Under-21s debut in last week's 4-0 win at San Marino and quickly made an impression in front of home supporters, opening the scoring inside two minutes after fine work by Wilfried Zaha down the left.
Lithuania were struggling to get to grips with Morrison, whose flurry of stepovers and dragbacks ended up in a free-kick at the edge of the box from which James Ward-Prowse scored his first goal for the Young Lions.
Gareth Southgate's side went further ahead in the 63rd minute when Saido Berahino netted his third goal in as many appearances, before Morrison came to the fore again.
Having won possession just inside the Lithuania half, the livewire midfielder burst between two defenders before fooling the goalkeeper with a stepover and slotting into the empty net.
Man-of-the-match Morrison was denied the chance of a hat-trick as Berahino netted from the spot in the 76th minute, although did not seem too annoyed as he applauded the West Brom striker's second.
Wales Under-21s gained revenge on their San Marino counterparts with a thumping 4-0 win at Bangor.
The Young Dragons had suffered a humiliating 1-0 defeat in San Marino last month but they made no mistake on home soil as Ellis Harrison, captain Lee Lucas, Wes Burns and Billy Bodin all found the net.
Northern Ireland's Under-21s are still to register a point after Serbia came from behind to beat them 3-1 in Gornji Milanovac.
The visitors took a 54th-minute lead through James Gray in what was their fourth Group 9 fixture but Serbia then netted thrice in quick succession thanks to David Morgan's own-goal (63) and efforts from Luka Milunovic (64) and Uros Vitas (74).
Martin Madalin's spectacular strike dealt the Republic of Ireland's hopes of qualifying took a major blow.
Madalin's second-half effort condemned Ireland, managed by Noel King's number two Harry McCue, to a 1-0 defeat against Romania at the Showgrounds in Sligo.
The Republic, who have now collected only four points from as many games, have a month to stew on a missed opportunity as they prepare for the Faroe Islands' arrival and their trip to Montenegro in November.