A below par England were sent crashing out of the European U21 Championships after a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Norway, with manager Stuart Pearce partly blaming the exit on injuries to key players in the build up to the tournament.
Southampton full-back Luke Shaw missed the tournament with a back injury, while Manchester United new-boy Wilfried Zaha sat out the first group game against Italy and turned in a below-par performance against Norway. Zaha has struggled with an ankle injury that’s required pain killing injections during the final third of the season.
Although regulars with the full England squad, an injury to Kyle Walker and with Jack Wilshere set for ankle surgery, Pearce was denied two players who would have injected some much needed quality and experience to a squad that had impressed in qualification, but fell short in the first two games of the Championships.
When asked why England had fared so badly, Pearce, 51, said:
“It’s a multitude of reasons. The suspensions and injuries to a couple of our players for the first game didn’t help and we never got any rhythm from the Italian game.”
England play their final group match against hosts Israel on Tuesday.by