Tunnicliffe’s England suffer Euro setback
Posted by nickogs20 on May 9, 2009
England’s Under-17s, featuring United midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe, crashed to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of host side Germany this afternoon, leaving their hopes of qualifying from the group stage of the 2009 UEFA European U17 Championship hanging by a thread.
Tunnicliffe had featured as a late substitute on Wednesday as the Young Lions snatched a draw with Holland thanks to a goal from Leeds’ Luke Garbutt, and was included from the start by manager John Peacock for today’s game, held at the Ernst-Abbe Sportfeld in Jena. England were more than a match for their opponents in the early stages, but some shambolic defending saw the hosts score twice in quick succession midway through the first-half before going on to add two further goals in the second 45 minutes, completing a resounding victory over their great rivals.
England’s hopes of qualification now look decidedly slim, with victory over Turkey in Gotha this coming Tuesday the absolute minimum that’s needed. That task in itself doesn’t look the most daunting, with the Turks already eliminated from the competition after two defeats, but even an England win will still be in vain unless the Germans, already qualified after two wins, can beat the Dutch in the other final Group B fixture. And even then, the hit England’s goal difference took today may prove fatal – with Holland’s currently sitting on +1 and England’s on -4, a five-goal swing would be required to prolong English participation in the tournament.
Tunnicliffe’s involvement in that last group game is questionable, with the 16 year-old from Heywood not making too much of an impression today and facing tough competition for places in the England midfield. Reds goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is also part of the squad, and having thus far been forced to look on from the bench as understudy to Norwich’s Jed Steer, he’ll be desperate for an opportunity to sample tournament football in what may well prove to be England’s finals swansong.