Conor Gallagher impresses, Emile Smith Rowe unlucky as Marc Guehi struggles in England U21 draw


Call it two points dropped rather than one gained. England Under-21 were in full control at half-time against Slovenia this evening, two goals in front after 45 minutes in which the only complaint was that they had not opened up a greater deficit.

Conor Gallagher began the scoring after five minutes before Manchester City’s Cole Palmer doubled the advantage with his second impressive effort in as many caps. But Slovenia were much improved after the break and Lee Carsley’s team seemed overcome with panic when defending set pieces on a wet night in Celje.

Mark Spanring pulled one back eight minutes after the interval following some penalty-area pinball before Dusan Stojinovic headed home from a corner to earn a share of the spoils.

Here is how the London-based players in England’s line-up performed.


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Conor Gallagher – 6

There were 30 seconds on the clock when he entered his first 50/50 and the midfielder led the high press just before Slovenia gave the ball away in the lead up to his goal. It was a straightforward finish but the midfielder displayed plenty of composure and his willingness to push forward in the first place led to him being in position to finish.

He could have had a second four minutes before the break when firing narrowly over after more exceptional dribbling work from Palmer. Gallagher’s set piece deliveries were not outstanding in difficult conditions and, like almost every team-mate, faded from prominence after the break.

Marc Guehi – 5

A straightforward first period for the captain up against an attack that only looked threatening from set pieces but he looked panicked when having to defend dead balls after the interval.

The Crystal Palace defender was too meek when attempting to clear before Spanring halved the deficit after 53 minutes and he should have done better for Stojinovic’s equaliser, allowing the Slovenian defender to get behind him and head home.

Had a couple of half chances in the dying embers from corners.

Oliver Skipp (Tottenham Hotspur) – 5

Lovely composure to skip past two opponents before releasing a fine weighted pass to Rhian Brewster in the lead up to Gallagher’s goal but was largely anonymous when England needed someone to take control early in the second half.

Before this game Carsley said that it is not until he is missing that the Tottenham midfielder’s true value becomes clear, stressing that despite his fine start to the season in north London there is much more to come from an underrated player.

This evening showed more work is required to hone his game management and, perhaps, that senior call up is a little further away

Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal) – 6

A decent debut on the left of the front three from the Arsenal player. He produced several menacing dribbles in that dominant opening half as the visitors thrived. But Smith Rowe was less impactful after the break as Slovenia grew in stature and there were far fewer opportunities to get on the ball – until seeing an 89th-minute first-time effort from a cross saved.

Tyreece John-Jules (Arsenal, on loan at Blackpool) – 5

On for the final 22 minutes, in place of Palmer, but made little impact as England sought a winner.

Folarin Balogun (Arsenal)- 5

Replaced Brewster as second part of the double change involving John-Jules.





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