LEEDS United enjoyed a notable weekend of success on the international front with Ronaldo Vieira and Stuart Dallas both cherishing crucial winning goals.
Teenage midfielder Vieira scored the decisive penalty as England’s under-20s beat the Ivory Coast 5-3 on spot kicks in the final of the Toulon Tournament in France.
Yesterday evening’s final ended in a 1-1 draw with 18-year-old Vieira having played the full 90 minutes after featuring heavily throughout the tournament for the young Three Lions.
In helping England successfully defend the competition which they also won last year, Vieira has emulated former Whites midfielder Lewis Cook who helped the young side to the same feat in 2016.
Vieira has enjoyed a dream season for Leeds having only signed his first pro deal with the club in May 2016.
The midfielder was then handed a full debut in the Championship finale at Preston North End just two days later and has gone on to become a regular starter in his first full season at Leeds.
The teenager signed a new three-year deal with Leeds in September, followed by a new four-year contract last month.
The talented teen also received the club’s young player of the year award last month.
Whites winger Dallas is also ending his campaign with a bang with the 26-year-old having netted an injury time winner against Azerbaijan yesterday as Northern Ireland enjoyed a dramatic 1-0 victory in their Group C World Cup qualifier in Baku.
Dallas also played the full 90 minutes as Northern Ireland moved four points clear of third-placed Czech Republic in Group C, hugely boosting their chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
Northern Ireland have not qualified for a World Cup since 1986.
“I probably haven’t had a better night in football,” Dallas said.
“It will take a hell of a lot to beat that personally.
“Scoring for my country is something I have always dreamed about and it’s something I will always cherish for the rest of my life.
“It could be the biggest goal I ever score given what it means for the group but we can’t worry about anyone else.”
“I was going to take a touch and hit it with my left but I was tired,” Dallas explained of his goal.
“It was a long 90 minutes. It ran across me and I’ve managed to drag it back into the bottom corner, maybe if I’d connected too well with it the defender could have blocked it.
“When it went in I ran to the fans and I was thinking to myself, ‘I’m booked from a game before (Norway)’ and I didn’t know what to do. I had Kyle (Lafferty) grabbing me by the throat taking me towards the fans and I was trying to tell him I was on a yellow from a previous game – that’s what was going through my head at that stage! But when I got the ball I had to concentrate to try to hit the target and thankfully it went in.”
United have had six players away on international duty with striker Chris Wood captaining New Zealand ahead of their Confederations Cup campaign in Russia which begins next Saturday.
Wood and the All Whites visit Belarus for a friendly tomorrow.
Whites centre-back Pontus Jansson is with Sweden who visit Norway on Tuesday evening for a friendly.
The 26-year-old was an unused substitute on Friday as the Swedes beat visiting France 2-1 in a Group A World Cup Qualifier.
Midfielder Eunan O’Kane is away with the Republic Of Ireland who host Austria tonight in a Group D World Cup Qualifier.
Young goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell has also recently been training with the Northern Ireland side.