Luton teen an unused sub as England reach double figures against New Caledonia in U17s World Cup opener
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Kicking off their group stage in Jakarta, Ryan Garry’s side racked up their record scoreline in this competition and, but for the opposition keeper Nicolas Kutran, it could have been more.
England began strongly and were ahead when VAR awarded a penalty for a foul on Samuel Amo-Ameyaw, which allowed Reiss Russell-Denny to send Kutran the wrong way and open the Young Lions’ account.
They doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark, Tyler Dibling’s cross clinically finished by Justin Oboavwoduo.
Dibbling made it 3-0, as a fourth arrived in first-half stoppage time, the Southampton player once again the provider, Josh Acheampong heading home his corner.
Shortly after the break, New Caledonia were dealt another blow, captain Nolhann Alebate seeing a red card for needlessly lashing out at Myles Lewis-Skelly in an off the ball incident.
England took full advantage, Amo-Ameyaw drilling home, while Oboavwoduo had his second of the game just before the hour mark.
Garry made five substitutions, although Johnson wasn’t one of them, as Ethan Nwaneri curled home from the edge of the area.
Michael Golding’s attempt diverted off the boot of Wadriya Hanye to wrongfoot Kutran, while Harrison Murray-Campbell made it nine and then Finley McAllister brought up double figures late on.
England next face Iran on Tuesday, who hit back from 2-0 down to defeat Brazil 3-2 in their opening Group C contest.
With Johnson becoming the first Luton player to be at a World Cup with England since Syd Owen in 1954, Town boss Rob Edwards said: “It’s a brilliant achievement, we’re really proud of him, we all are at the club.
"He’s worked very, very hard and he deserves it.
"We wish him and the team every bit of success, hopefully he can bring a bit of silverware back, but a great experience for him and he’s only going to get better for this.”
England: Tommy Setford, Josh Acheampong, Jayden Meghoma, Lakyle Samuel (C, Harrison Murray-Campbell 61), Ishé Samuels Smith, Tyler Dibling (Matty Warhurst 61), Justin Oboavwoduo, Samuel Amo-Ameyaw, Joel Ndala (Ethan Nwaner 61), Reiss-Alexander Russell-Denny (Finley McAllister 61), Myles Lewis-Skelly (Michael Golding 61).
Subs not used: Ted Curd, Chris Rigg, Joseph Johnson, Archie Stevens, Finlay Herrick.