Everton Trio Feature in Young Lions Stalemate

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Everton trio Jonjoe Kenny, Callum Connolly and Kieran Dowell all featured as England Under-21s fought out a goalless draw with Mexico in the Toulon Tournament.

Defender Kenny, seeking international glory for a second successive summer following his instrumental role in the Under-20s’ World Cup triumph 12 months ago, completed the full 80 minutes of a tense encounter with the North Americans.

Connolly also started and finished the match, while Kenny’s fellow world champion Dowell, who spent last term on loan with Nottingham Forest, was replaced by Newcastle United striker Adam Armstrong on 66 minutes.

Kenny was excellent as part of an England back three which withstood tremendous Mexican pressure in the second half at the compact Stade d'Honneur Marcel Roustan, after goalkeeper Freddie Woodman had denied Roberto Alvarado and Cesar Montes with a pair of agile stops before the interval.

Dowell fashioned an opening for Lukas Nmecha three minutes after the break but the Manchester City forward’s header was comfortably repelled by Mexico number one Jose Hernandez.

Substitute Tammy Abraham could not connect with Nmecha’s flick in front of goal and Woodman was relieved to see a strike from Diego Lainez fly narrowly off target as the sides traded chances late in the piece.

The result leaves Mexico and defending champions England locked on four points at the summit of Group A, although Aidy Boothroyd’s side will need a convincing victory over Qatar in their final game on Friday to claim top spot.

England beat China 2-1 in their opening fixture, while the Mexicans sealed a 4-1 victory over Qatar.

The competition’s three group winners automatically progress to next Wednesday’s semi-finals, where they will be joined by the best second-placed team.

Elsewhere, Everton Under-23 striker Shayne Lavery made his senior international bow in Northern Ireland's friendly draw with Panama.

Lavery, who returned from injury to hit three goals in seven matches for David Unsworth's team last term, replaced Josh Magennis for the final two minutes of the match in Panama City – which ended 0-0 and doubled as a farewell for the World Cup-bound hosts, who are grouped with England, Tunisia and Belgium in Russia.

The 19-year-old won his first international call in March, when he was an unused substitute in Northern Ireland's 2-1 victory over South Korea, and could potentially win a second cap when Michael O'Neill's team face Costa Rica in San Jose on Sunday.

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