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England Under-21s secure comfortable 2-0 win over Israel U-21 in Georgia. An early Anthony Gordon header and a well-taken Smith Rowe second make it two wins in a row for Lee Carsley and his men.
Now entering the quarter-finals, The England Under-21 team still have one game of the group stage left to play; against the reigning champions Germany on Wednesday.
England Under-21 Player Ratings: England’s midfield heavily influential throughout
James Trafford 5/10 – Confident ball-playing, but had little to deal with in the air. Alert for Israel’s free-kick at the end of the first half.
James Garner 7/10 – The central-midfielder (by nature) was defensive astute throughout and gave one of Israel’s brightest sparks little joy.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis 6/10 – Largely uncontested but was solid when depended upon, but did have some moment where he lacked concentration.
Levi Colwill 7/10 – Cool, calm, collected. Dealt with a few balls over the top to end potential attacks and was strong in and out of possession.
Ben Johnson 7/10 – Stepped in for the unwell Max Aarons and coped well. Picked up first card on the game.
Emile Smith Rowe 7/10 – Surprisingly in proceedings over Jacob Ramsey. Scored early on but was ruled out for offside. Relatively quiet up until his goal.
Curtis Jones 9/10 – Combined well with Gomes and was often the defence’s best outlet to play to. Great range of passing from deep and kept things ticking over. Giving Jurgen Klopp the impression he’s ready to hit the ground running in the forthcoming season.
Angel Gomes 8/10 – Received the ball from either centre-back at will and looked comfortable in possession. Brilliant defensive work accompanied his attacking prowess as he starred in the midfield.
Morgan Gibbs-White 7/10 – Often pushed from the front, but was visibly frustrated by too many of England’s long balls. Was very dangerous, however, and racked up two assists.
Anthony Gordon 7/10 – Looked lively and scored England’s opener. Was given license to roam and got his goal. Taken off on 60 minutes.
Noni Madueke 4/10 – His first half showed that Israel had done their homework. Fluffed a big chance early in the second half. Hooked with 30 minutes left to play.
Cole Palmer 7/10 – His fresh legs caused problems.
Cameron Archer 6/10 – Had a chance to make it three but poor first touch.
Harvey Elliott 6/10 – Heavily involved on his introduction. Great through-ball for Archer’s chance.
Oliver Skipp 5/10 – Replaced Gomes and kept things ticking over in midfield, but had little time to do much.
Jacob Ramsey 6/10 – Replaced Gomes and kept things ticking over in midfield. Looked very bright going forward, too.
England Under-21 vs Israel Under-21 Match Summary and Highlights
England stay top of Group C with Germany left to play as the Young Lions look poised to impressive in their Euro 2023 campaign. It was a hot evening in Georgia and it took its toll with the game played at a light intensity for the full 90 minutes.
As expected, England enjoyed large spells of possession early on. They thought they had found their breakthrough following a beautifully crafted passage of one-touch play from Lee Carsley’s outfit, though the cool finish by Emile Smith Rowe was called rightfully offside.
Just 10 minutes later, The Young Lion’s patience paid off as a well-worked sequence eventually landed at the feet of Morgan Gibbs-White, whose pinpoint cross was met by Anthony Gordon whose header ended up in the back of the net.
Complacency almost got the better of England in the dying embers of the first half as they found themselves under the cosh for the very first time in the game. But it was to no effect as Eitan Azulay’s free-kick at the death of the first stage was equalled by the idle James Trafford.
For his second goal in two games, Smith Rowe came up with the goods as he combined neatly with Gibbs-White on the edge to slap one past Daniel Peretz. Israel’s reluctance to press allowed Carsley and co to experiment by making five changes without placing their lead in peril.
England Under-21 Player of the Match: Curtis Jones
The Liverpool man takes the crown on this occasion thanks to his work on and off the ball. In possession, he was decisive in his passing and always looked to play the positive ball. Off it, he never shied away from receiving the ball and got stuck in defensively, too.
Whether it was retaining possession under pressure or producing a splitting ball to a marauding teammate, Jones was the man for the job. The 22-year-old was largely involved in the majority of England’s build-up and his Israeli counterparts struggled to contain his ability.
If he fits into Klopp’s 2023/24 plans is yet to be seen but his glittering showing against Israel will give the German a thing or two to consider.
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