Curtis Jones made his first start of the U21 Euros for England on Wednesday, and it ended with a goal, a red card and a last-minute exit from the tournament to Croatia.
It was a disastrous group stage for the England under-21s as Aidy Boothroyd’s questionable management led to a lack of cohesion on the pitch, despite boasting a squad of hugely talented young players.
Jones is, of course, chief among those, but the Liverpool midfielder was overlooked for the first two group games, only coming off the bench in losses to Switzerland and Portugal.
Needing a two-goal victory to guarantee progression, the 20-year-old was thrust into the side against Croatia on Wednesday evening, along with the similarly underutilised Eberechi Eze.
Eze scored the first from the penalty spot, while Jones doubled the Young Lions’ lead with a fierce strike into the bottom corner in the 73rd minute, setting England on course for the quarter-finals.
Unfortunately, up stepped Domagoj Bradaric in the first minute of stoppage time to fire an unstoppable strike into the top corner and break English hearts.
Jones became embroiled in a heated altercation soon after, and received his marching orders after being dragged out of the fray with a bloody nose, as England dropped out of the Euros.
It was a more positive night for Andy Robertson, however, with the Scotland captain teeing up the fourth goal of the night to secure a 4-0 victory over the Faroe Islands in their World Cup qualifying group.
Robertson produced a beautiful cross from the left-hand side of the box for Ryan Fraser to head home, with Scotland now sitting second behind Denmark in the Group F standings.
Meanwhile, Xherdan Shaqiri played the first half as Switzerland beat Finland 3-2 in a friendly, having made his third consecutive start of the break – resulting in three consecutive wins.