Pompey starlet looks to provide welcome England boost

Sam Magri, England.
Sam Magri, England.
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Sam Magri is aiming to provide some rare England footballing cheer by helping the under-17 national team book a place in the next round of the Fifa U-17 World Cup.

Kenny Swain’s side take on Canada in the early hours of Thursday morning, British time.

They know a win in Pachuca, Mexico, will be enough to secure them qualification from group C and a spot in the second stage.

England’s 2-0 victory over Rwanda on Sunday has already put them on track to make the last 16.

Pompey’s Magri featured in the centre of defence as second-half goals from Hallam Hope and Raheem Sterling sealed a deserved victory in Pachuca.

It was a welcome boost after their under-21 counterparts were knocked out of the group stages of the European Championships on the same night.

Stuart Pearce’s men conceded two late goals against the Czech Republic to surrender their qualification hopes.

Now Magri and his team-mates have the chance to show them how it’s done.

England under-17s will be favourites to dispose of a Canadian side who suffered a 3-0 defeat to Uruguay on Sunday.

England’s group finishes with a clash against current leaders Uruguay at the Torreon on Saturday, July 25.

Yet qualification could already have been achieved by that stage, should they triumph against Canada in their next match, which kicks off at midnight

Magri is Pompey’s sole representative at the World Cup.

Blues starlets Alex Grant, Jordan Fitzharris and Patrick Antelmi had all been named in Australia’s preliminary squad.

However, they failed to make the final 21 for the tournament in Mexico.

That means all the focus from Pompey fans will once again be on the Fratton youngster.

A regular in the England set-up, Magri lined up in Sunday’s win over Rwanda.

Swain’s side dominated but struggled to break down their African opposition on their World Cup debut.

It took a clinical finish from Hope and a stunning late second from Sterling to clinch the three group points.

Earlier, Liverpool’s Sterling struck the post and Hope hit the post, while Nick Powell had penalty appeals waved away after a blatant trip inside the box.

But England maintained their focus and once Sterling made the breakthrough, the result was never in any doubt.

Now a win against Canada will ensure qualification is assured.