Ipswich Town midfielder Andre Dozzell starts as England win the European U19 Championships
- Credit: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Ipswich Town midfielder Andre Dozzell played most of the match as England Under-19s won the European Championships title with a 2-1 final win over Portugal, in Georgia, on Saturday.
The 18-year-old returned to the starting line-up having missed the semi-final victory over the Czech Republic on Wednesday due to a minor hip injury sustained in the 4-1 group win over Germany. He played 77 minutes of the final before being replaced.
England took the lead through Aston Villa’s Easah Suliman in the 50th minute, but Chelsea’s Dujon Sterling netted an own goal six minutes later to level the scores.
The Young Lions found themselves under pressure after the Portuguese equaliser but Manchester City’s Lukas Nmecha – who had netted an audacious last-gasp winner in the semi – grabbed what proved to be the winner on the break in the 68th minute.
England held out in the closing stages after being reduced to 10 men when Fulham’s Tayo Edun was dismissed for a second yellow card.
It caps a remarkable summer of success for England at youth level with the U20s winning the World Cup, a shadow U20 squad winning the Toulon Tournament and the U21s reaching the semi-finals of the European Championships.
Dozzell, who is playing up an age group, started all three group games and has impressed in a deep-lying playmaker role.
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His proud father Jason, who was out in Georgia for the majority of the tournament, said: “Because he’s playing up an age group (Andre only turned 18 in May) I wasn’t heading out there expecting Andre to start all the games. He must have trained well and impressed the manager though because he’s got in and stayed in – and that’s some achievement given the talent in this group.”
Former Copleston High School pupil Dozzell burst on the scene with a goal-scoring senior debut for the Blues aged 16, just like his father had done in 1984.
He was restricted to seven starts and two substitute appearances last season though and will be hoping for more game-time in 2017/18, despite facing increased competition from new signings Emyr Huws, Tom Adeyemi and the fit-again Teddy Bishop.
“It’s been an invaluable experience for him learning about how to handle competitive, tournament football,” said Jason. “The technical side of the football is unbelievably high. He’s played against some of the best young players in the world and that can only benefit him in the long-term.
“He’s playing a different style of football to what he’s experienced in the Championship. It’s all possession-based, there’s a lot of play in midfield and you’ve got to be really, really good on the ball in tight situations. Andre’s been playing a deep role, getting lots of the ball and done well.”