Lingard turns supersub to keep England hopes on track
ENGLAND (U-21): 1 SWEDEN (U-21): 0
Gareth Southgate's derided players made light of Swedish criticism to gain an invaluable victory in the sunlit Androv Stadion in Olomouc yesterday.
It was far from an inspiring performance in front of the watching Roy Hodgson, but it brought relief and belief in equal measure.
The Swedes may be celebrating Midsummer but it was the English who kept alive their hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the U-21 European Championship thanks to Jesse Lingard.
Aged 22, Lingard's career has yet to take off fully and the Manchester United attacker has spent time on loan at Leicester, Birmingham, Brighton and Derby.
All the focus had been on Harry Kane and then the lively Danny Ings when he came on but it was Lingard who rescued Southgate's team.
England had huffed and puffed for 85 minutes, rarely showing real guile or penetration.
But the arrival of Ings began to stretch Sweden, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek brought some physical command to midfield and the other substitute, Lingard, made the most of his chance with five minutes remaining.
The ball fell invitingly to him, following some poor goalkeeping by Patrik Carlgren and he accepted the half-chance fully, controlling the ball and then burying it past the goalkeeper.
Such was UEFA's strict adherence to protocol that England were made to take a bus for the 127-yard journey from their hotel to the stadium. (© Daily Telegraph, London)