Carl Jenkinson delivered a hugely impressive performance as England U21s kept their hopes of reaching the latter stages of the European Championships alive with a 1-0 victory over Sweden today.
The win was secured courtesy of a sweet strike from Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard, who had been introduced as a substitute.
England’s performance was hugely frustrating at times, with Gareth Southgate’s side, who lost to Portugal in their opening group game, struggling to create many clear-cut chances despite playing some neat possession-based football. However, they eventually prevailed and looked a more dangerous outfit as a consequence of Southgate’s decision to introduce Danny Ings at the start of the second-half.
When the opportunities did arrive, Jenkinson was usually heavily involved. On one occasion the right-back, who spent last season at West Ham United, delivered an excellent cross, with Harry Kane unable to convert.
Jenkinson has been linked with a loan move to Sunderland in recent days and his attacking qualities were on display here as he produced several further crosses, whilst he also missed a chance to find the net himself in the second-half.
The jury is still out on Jenkinson’s defensive capabilities, but he must be commended for his attacking endeavours.
Whilst one Arsenal defender is enjoying the tournament, the same can’t be said for another member of the England squad, Calum Chambers, who was an un-used substitute in each of England’s first two games.
Chambers’ omission from Southgate’s starting line-up was a little surprising given that he already has three senior caps to his name, with the former Southampton player surely representing a better alternative to Leicester City’s Liam Moore at centre-back. Chambers has endured a frustrating 2015 so far having been edged out of the first-team picture at Arsenal as a consequence of the development of Hector Bellerin and the signing of Gabriel.
His inclusion in the England squad for this tournament will, despite his lack of involvement so far, impinge upon his pre-season plans with Arsenal, with the Gunners usually giving players a month off after international excursions, meaning Chambers could miss the club’s involvement in the Premier League Asia Trophy.
However, he is a player with much potential and will surely be afforded further opportunities to impress with Arsenal, preferably at centre-back, at a later date.
Both England and Sweden named an Arsenal academy graduate on their bench today in Benik Afobe and Kristoffer Olsson respectively.
Arsenal’s other representative at this tournament is Serge Gnabry, with the German youngster being introduced for the final ten minutes as his nation beat Denmark 3-0 yesterday.