How did England’s players fare in their opening match of the European Under-21 Championship against Sweden?
as the opening match of the tournament finished 0-0 with both teams still in the hunt to qualify from Group A.
expert Alan Smith was in the commentary box and we caught up with him at full-time for his assessment of each player who featured on Friday evening…
Jordan Pickford – 8
I’d have to say he was England’s most important player. He hardly had anything to do, but he saved a penalty and that has rescued a point for England. He had hardly any saves to make but when he was called upon he was ready.
Mason Holgate – 6
I thought he was very adventurous and got forward a lot, which was good to see, but his final ball was disappointing more often than not.
Calum Chambers – 7
He did well throughout the game. He was very strong in the air, won most of his headers and he looked nice and strong. He was one of the better performers for England.
Alfie Mawson – 6
He was an occasional threat in an attacking sense, but he’s not as refined or sophisticated as some of the other defenders England have.
Ben Chilwell – 6
He gave away the penalty and I thought he was a bit unlucky because he got the ball, but it was silly to dive in like that. He made the wrong decision and that’s a lesson for him. He got up and down the pitch but, like Holgate, he didn’t deliver accurately enough.
James Ward-Prowse – 7
It was difficult for him at times. He delivered some nice set-pieces, as he always does, and was really unlucky not to score direct from a free-kick when the goalkeeper made a good save.
Nathaniel Chalobah – 5
I was very disappointed in Nathaniel Chalobah, especially defensively. I don’t think the role in central midfield next to Ward-Prowse really suits him and he switched off when Pawel Cibicki shot over the bar during the first half.
Lewis Baker – 5
He was another of England’s midfielders who struggled to get into the game. They tried to play the ball into his feet during the second half, but it just didn’t happen for him.
Jacob Murphy – 6
He had one or two good moments early on. He beat his man and shortly afterwards he shot over the bar. After that I thought his display tailed off and there were a few clumsy touches.
Tammy Abraham – 7
I like Tammy Abraham. He leads the line on his own really well and is not afraid to back in and hold the ball up. He always looks a threat and he works really hard.
Nathan Redmond – 6
I was expecting a little bit more from Nathan Redmond. Sweden did a number on him in the first half; they got tight on him, kept fouling him and made him frustrated. He couldn’t really influence the game.
Substitute: Demarai Gray
He came on with 19 minutes left and didn’t really get involved. He was unable to make a difference after coming on.