England Under-21 vs Spain Under-21 Player Ratings: James Trafford the hero as England are crowned European champions

England Under-21 vs Spain Under-21 Player Ratings: James Trafford the hero as England are crowned European champions
Photo by Icon Sport

  • James Trafford dramatically saves a last-minute penalty to secure England their first u21 European Championship in 39 years.
  • Curtis Jones had given England the lead after inadvertently deflecting a Palmer free kick into the Spain goal.
  • Lee Carsley’s men end the tournament without conceding a goal and are worthy champions.

England Under-21 Player Ratings:

James Trafford 10/10 – Wasn’t troubled too much in truth for most of the night but in the 98th minute, his time came. Abel Ruiz stepped up to take a penalty to equalise but Trafford expertly saved before then also saving a quick rebound.

James Garner 8/10 – Excelled as a makeshift right-back despite being a midfielder by trade. Food for thought for Everton boss, Sean Dyche.

Levi Colwill 6/10 – Was excellent all night up until his lazy foul gave Spain a penalty in the dying minutes. His performances during the Euros will have made Chelsea determined to keep hold of him.

Taylor Harwood-Bellis 7/10 – Easy to see why Manchester City are reluctant to let him go. Looked assured on the ball and read the game well all night.

Max Aarons 7/10 – A welcome return after serving his suspension against Israel in the semi-finals and slotted straight back into the team. Had a good duel with Rodri.

Emile Smith-Rowe 6/10 – Wasn’t his best game and struggled to make much of an impact before being substituted in the second half

Angel Gomes 8/10 – Didn’t allow his early booking to demoralise him and pulled the strings in the centre of the pitch. Manchester United may live to regret letting him go for so cheap.

Curtis Jones 8/10 – Knew absolutely nothing about his goal but he will go down as a goalscorer in European Championship final for his country. Aside from that, he seemed to be everywhere on the pitch and seem to be thriving after his late-season form for Liverpool.

Morgan Gibbs-White 6/10 – Worked hard for his team but nothing seemed to come off for him in an attacking sense. Was subbed off in the second half.

Cole Palmer 7/10 – Easy to see why Pep Guardiola keeps giving him minutes – he is tidy on the ball and followed his manager’s instructions expertly. Will feel that he was robbed of a goal by Jones.

Anthony Gordon 6/10 – Can be pleased with his tournament on the whole but was fairly anonymous in this one.


Noni Madueke 6/10 – Came on and only really had defensive responsibilities due to the state of the game but had a glorious chance to make it 2-0 at the death.

Cameron Archer 5/10 – Offered very little off the bench.

Oliver Skipp 6/10 – Came on to waste time.

Harvey Elliott 6/10 – Came on to waste time.

Tommy Doyle 6/10 – Came on to waste time.

Spain Under-21 Player Ratings:

Arnau Tenas 7/10 – Completely helpless for the goal and made a sensational double save in stoppage time to deny England a second goal.

Victor Gomez 7/10 – Dealt with Gordon well and offered a threat going the other way.

Aitor Paredes 6/10 – Looked rash at times.

Jon Pacheco 7/10 – A classic Spanish defender and definitely someone to keep an eye on in the near future.

Juan Miranda 6/10 – Perhaps lacked a bit of tenacity both defensively and offensively.

Antonio Blanco 5/10 – Sent off in the penalty aftermath and generally had a poor game. Was outclassed by Jones and Gomes.

Alex Baena 7/10 – The pick of the Spanish midfielders and tried to get the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half.

Oihan Sancet 6/10 – Didn’t create an awful lot and was rightfully substituted in the second half.

Rodri 6/10 – Got no joy out of Max Aarons.

Abel Ruiz 4/10 – May well have ended the tournament as the golden boot winner but he had a night to forget. Missed a sitter from six yards and then missed the all-important penalty at the death.

Sergio Gomez 7/10 – Looks like a different Sergio Gomez from the one who has occasionally played for Manchester City. Perhaps Guardiola will play him further up the field next season.


Gabri Veiga 7/10 – Helped to make things happen and perhaps will feel as if he should have taken the penalty.

Aimar Oroz 6/10 – Drove Spain forward but lacked a bit of quality.

Rodrigo Riquelme 6/10 – Came on to throw the kitchen sink at England but didn’t do an awful lot.

Ander Barrenetxea 6/10 – Came on too late to make an impact.

Sergio Camello 6/10 – Came on too late to make an impact.

England Under-21 vs Spain Under-21 Match Summary and Highlights  

England Under-21 Curtis Jones
Photo by Icon Sport

For the first time in 39 years, England are European under-21 champions following a thrilling finish in Georgia. Lee Carsley’s men will not only go down in history in English football but will also go down in European Championship folklore as they are the first time since 1998 to go through the entire tournament without conceding a goal.

After a nervy opening 45 minutes, England took the lead in the most bizarre circumstances. Cole Palmer struck a free-kick in stoppage time that deflected off Curtis Jones in the wall and into the far corner of the goal. Goalkeeper, Tenas, had absolutely no chance and England had stolen the lead heading into half-time.

The second half was all one-way traffic with Spain throwing everything they had at the England defence. Abel Ruiz had a golden chance to level late on when he somehow put the ball over the bar from six yards out. However, Ruiz’s chance was still to come when Spain were awarded a penalty in the 96th minute when Levi Colwill went into the back of the Spain forward.

Ruiz stepped up but Trafford was up to the job, diving to his right-hand side to keep the ball out of the net. If that wasn’t enough, he then pounced on the goal-bound rebound to confirm England as European champions.

Player of the Match: James Trafford

For 90 minutes, there wasn’t really an obvious choice for the player of the match award but after the chaos of stoppage time, the award can only go to one man – James Trafford. The goalkeeper has just secured a move to Premier League new boys, Burnley, and Vincent Kompany will be delighted with how his new number one has performed this tournament. His double save at the end will live long in the memory and it will be interesting to see how he gets on next season.

Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!