England Under-21 3, Poland Under-21 0: Young Lions can go all the way, says goalscorer Demarai Gray, after reaching semi-finals

Ross McLean
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Murphy, left, and Gray, right, both netted for England Under-21s (Source: Getty)

England Under-21 winger Demarai Gray insists his side have proven their tournament-winning potential after demolishing hosts Poland to secure their place in the European Championship semi-finals on Thursday.

Gray handed the Young Lions an early lead before a second-half tap-in by substitute Jacob Murphy and successfully converted spot-kick from Lewis Baker ensured England reached the last four for the first time since 2009.

Victory confirmed England as Group A winners, finishing a point ahead of Slovakia who beat Sweden 3-0, although they will have to wait to find out their next opponents with Groups B and C yet to be completed.

Asked whether England Under-21s could go all the way, Gray said: “Why not? Everyone knows what depth we have in the squad and as a team we showed what we’re capable of tonight.

“If we can take that performance into the semi-finals, no matter who we get we’ll cause them problems.”

England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd cut a more low-key figure in the aftermath of his team’s triumph, despite expressing his pride at their advance.

“Getting out of the group is easier to say than do, it’s a tough call,” said Boothroyd. “We were one of the best 12 teams in Europe, we’re now down to the best four and the next step is trying to become one of the best two and then the best one.”

Gray, who netted with a 25-yard effort after only six minutes, scampered clear to set-up Murphy, while Baker made no mistake from the penalty spot late on after a foul on substitute Tammy Abraham, for which defender Jan Bednarek received a second booking.

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