Norwich City star Murphy hoping to keep his place for England’s ‘must win’ game
PUBLISHED: 00:17 19 June 2017
Norwich City star Jacob Murphy will be hoping to keep his place in the starting line-up today when England Under-21s take on Slovakia in their second game of the European Championships in Poland.
Murphy played for 71 minutes of England’s opener against Sweden before being replaced by Leicester’s Demarai Gray, with keeper Jordan Pickford later saving a penalty to help his side to a goalless draw,
Murphy was one of England’s better players in the first half on Friday and is likely to be given another chance to impress by Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd, who has labelled today’s game in Kielce as must win.
Defeat would leave their Group A qualification hopes hanging by a thread with leaders Slovakia having already beaten hosts Poland 2-1.
Only the group winners and best runner-up from the three pools go through to the semi-finals and Boothroyd knows England cannot afford to let Slovakia get out of sight.
He said: “It’s knockout football now without a doubt.
“We’ve got to win and then win the next one after that. But we have to beat the Slovakians first.
“They have had a brilliant start. They’re a very good team and I’ve been really impressed with them.
“Their game with Poland was probably better to watch than our game with Sweden and it will be difficult. We totally respect the result they got.
“We have to go full pelt for every game but at the same time because of the squad that we’ve got I’ve got to think about using everyone that’s in it.
“But we have to win so I’ve got to pick the best team, even if some of them might be a bit tired they might have to play a smaller part in the game and think about what goes on in the last half hour of the game.”
Norwich City’s on-loan goalkeeper Angus Gunn will be in reserve again to provide cover for undisputed number one Pickford, who has just completed a big money move to Everton.
Senior boss Gareth Southgate, assistant Steve Holland and the Football Association’s technical director Dan Ashworth are all in Kielce after arriving for the Sweden game on Friday.
The game kicks off at 5pm British time and is being shown live on Sky Sports.