Chuba Akpom played the whole game today as England U19s lost 1-0 to their Ukraine counterparts courtesy of a 94th minute goal from Eduard Sobol. The result means that England will not participate in the Final tournament, which will take place in Hungary in July.
Akpom, as one of his country’s key players at that age group, will undoubtedly be disappointed that he will not be able to feature in the tournament, but there is a considerable silver lining as England’s elimination means that the striker, providing he doesn’t suffer any injuries, will be able to play a full part in Arsenal’s pre-season schedule.
Last season Akpom played a prominent part in the club’s Asia Tour and also featured in the Emirates Cup. Arsenal will host the latter tournament again this Summer, although, as yet, their only other confirmed pre-season fixture at first-team level is away to New York Red Bulls.
Kristoffer Olsson, meanwhile, scored as Sweden’s U19 team eased to a 3-0 victory over Czech Republic today, but Bulgaria’s draw against Italy means that Olsson will also miss out on the tournament.
Whilst Akpom and Olsson will not be heading to Hungary, there may well be an Arsenal representative at the Finals, with Hector Bellerin’s Spain commencing their Elite Round qualification programme on Saturday against Denmark, before later taking on Lithuania and Germany. It would be ideal, from an Arsenal perspective, for Bellerin to remain at Arsenal for pre-season, particularly given the current sense of uncertainty surrounding the club’s right-back position. If Carl Jenkinson was to go out on loan next season, for example, then Bellerin could well be installed as the club’s second-choice right-back behind a new signing to replace the departing Bacary Sagna.