England Progress As Garner Resumes Right-Back Role

James Garner played the full game as England Under-21s qualified for the quarter-finals of the European Championships with a 2-0 victory over Israel in Kutaisi, Georgia. 

Having won by the same score line against Czech Republic in their opening group game of the competition on Thursday, Garner and the rest of the Young Lions took to the field for a second fixture in group C of the tournament.

Garner played the full 90 minutes last time out as a right-back and was again selected to play that role by Lee Carsley.

The former Everton player and current England Under-21s manager gained plaudits after Thursday’s win and made two changes to the side as Ben Johnson and Emile Smith-Rowe came in for Max Aarons and Jacob Ramsey, whilst Toffees’ centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite was named as a substitute.

After just four minutes, England thought they’d taken the lead as Smith-Rowe backheeled home at the end of a brilliant move, only to be denied by the linesman’s flag. 

It was a high intensity start from the Young Lions, with Garner picking up the ball in advanced positions down the right-hand side. 

England’s dominant start was then rewarded as Anthony Gordon headed home from an inch-perfect Morgan Gibbs-White cross to open the scoring. 

The second half continued in a similar vein, and Noni Madueke missed a gilt-edged opportunity to add to the scoring, firing wide after being played through on goal. 

It was another strong performance from Garner at full-back, and his tempting cross after 57 minutes very nearly picked out the onrushing England forwards. 

10 minutes later, the lead was eventually doubled in brilliant fashion. A sweeping team move saw Smith-Rowe and Gibbs-White combine, and the former fired the ball into the bottom corner to give England a two-goal advantage.

Starting consecutive games from right-back, it was yet again an assured display from Garner, making 50 passes at a completion rate of 90.9%

The result means the Young Lions go into the final group game against Germany on Wednesday (5pm BST) having already secured qualification to the last eight as group winners.