Entering the tournament as one of the favourites and crashing out after a hopeless campaign is all too familiar for England fans. This was the exact fate which befell England under-21 international team, who after entering the European Championships this summer among the favourites, crashed out after defeats to France and Romania. Quite disappointing right?
It would have been a learning curve for the youngsters, especially for the five Chelsea youth team players among the squad hoping to get promoted after the clubs transfer ban. Tammy Abraham, Jay Dasilva, Mason Mount, Fikayo Timori and Jake Clarke-Salter are all among the players involved with the England under-21’s squad this summer, and they will have learned just what they shouldn’t do if they are introduced into the Chelsea first team next season.
Chelsea are currently in the midst of a transfer ban for the next two windows, and with the inability to sign players, many of the aforementioned youth players will most likely be promoted to the first team for next season. Learning how to close games out after leading and going down to ten-men will be among the key lessons learned by the Chelsea youth. England were leading 1-0 when Hamza Choudhury was sent off in the 63rd minute, eventually losing 2-1 after two late France goals. all five of Chelsea’s players ended the game for England, and they would’ve learned just how important mental and physical concentration is in the dying embers of a key fixture.
As well as being unable to close games out, the Chelsea youth players were guilty of not handling the tag of ‘favourites’ well enough. England were the favourites in both their games versus France and Romania. However, both of those ended in defeat, and the Chelsea youngsters would have got a feel for the pressure that comes with being the favourites in games against talented opposition. Tomori was guilty of not handling pressure well after his rash attempted clearance led to Romania’s second goal in the 4-2 defeat.
The Chelsea youngsters will be surrounded by vastly experienced internationals next season if they are included in the first-team squad next season. However, after Chelsea’s clear struggles over the last few seasons, there’s no guarantee that the senior players will perform well enough to help the quintet. The under-21 European Championships will have been a great learning experience for the Chelsea youngsters. They must draw from the experiences in Italy, and ensure they don’t make the same mistakes next season, as they will prove far more costly in the Premier League and Champions League than in an international youth tournament.