Leeds United teen cites positive from midweek loss ahead of potential Thorp Arch friendly fire

Northern Ireland Under 21s winger Charlie Allen believes his experience against Serbia's defenders will help him to improve as a Leeds United player.
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The 19-year-old featured in a 2-1 defeat in the U21 Euro 2025 qualifiers Group F clash at Mourneview Park in Lurgan and caused the visitors some problems.

He played Ciaran McGuckin in for a fourth minute chance but the striker was foiled by Serbian goalkeeper Veljko Ilic. The visitors then went ahead on the quarter hour mark and Allen came close to a leveller nine minutes later, his fierce drive tipped round the post by Illic.

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McGuckin found the equaliser, from the penalty spot, early in the second half, but Northern Ireland were hit with a late sucker punch when Milos Pantovic scrambled the ball home in the 82nd minute.

Allen was proud of his side's performance.

"I think we showed we have fight, we have character," he said after the game.

"They're a big team, that puts them third in the group behind Ukraine and England, two top teams. We've gone toe to toe with them. Our own mistakes caused the goals we conceded and we had a lot of chances to draw or maybe even get a win out of the game."

The defeat came hot on the heels of a 1-0 win over Azerbaijan, a game in which Allen and his team-mates had to play for 53 minutes with a numerical disadvantage.

FRIENDLY FIRE - Leeds United winger Charlie Allen is out to impress with Northern Ireland Under 21s and Leeds ahead of a clash with England and Charlie Cresswell at Goodison Park next month. Pic: GettyFRIENDLY FIRE - Leeds United winger Charlie Allen is out to impress with Northern Ireland Under 21s and Leeds ahead of a clash with England and Charlie Cresswell at Goodison Park next month. Pic: Getty
FRIENDLY FIRE - Leeds United winger Charlie Allen is out to impress with Northern Ireland Under 21s and Leeds ahead of a clash with England and Charlie Cresswell at Goodison Park next month. Pic: Getty
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"I think we showed last week going down to 10 men and still managing to grind out, fight and get a 1-0 win, three points," said the Leeds man.

"We came up against a massive opposition [Serbia], went toe-to-toe until the 89th minute and even then we still think we can get something from the game. We think we can get something from every game, that's just the way our team is. We believe in each other, we know we're good players and when we work together and fight together we can cause teams trouble and make it hard for them."

On a personal level Allen earned his fourth cap at Under 21 level and will be keen to impress in order to stay in Tommy Wright's plans for the November clash with England at Goodison Park. That game could pit Allen against Leeds club mate Charlie Cresswell.

The winger believes his experience this week against quality international opposition will stand him in good stead as a Leeds player.

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"It's the best full-backs in Serbia at this age so coming up against players like that is going to make you a better player on the international stage and for your club," he said.

Allen and Leeds Under 21s are next in action on Tuesday when they welcome Hertha BSC to York in the Premier League International Cup, before a home game against Liverpool on Sunday October 29, again at LNER Community Stadium.

Leeds host Crystal Palace on Friday November 3 and Chelsea on Sunday November 12, the latter fixture a Premier League Cup group stage clash. Both Leeds and Chelsea have six points from their opening two games.

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