James Trafford to rank third in record transfer fees for English goalkeepers with upcoming move to Burnley
The England squad emerged as European Under-21 Champions for the first time in close to 40 years, thanks to a nail-biting penalty block in the last minute by James Trafford, securing their win against Spain.
Trafford, who is in line for a transfer to Burnley from Manchester City in a potential £19m deal, thwarted a low spot-kick from Abel Ruiz in the 99th minute, following an extended VAR assessment.
Trafford, aged 20, followed this with another impressive save, much to the delight of his teammates who swarmed him.
The match-winning goal arrived virtually at the end of the first half, when a deflected free-kick by Cole Palmer off Curtis Jones managed to outsmart goalkeeper Arnau Tenas, settling in the bottom corner of the goal.
This victory solidified Lee Carsley’s prodigious team as the third England squad to win this competition, following the footsteps of the 1982 and 1984 teams.
This team is also the first to register six consecutive clean sheets in the history of this tournament.
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England Endures Intense Pressure to Secure Win
The final started with England in the driving seat, with Anthony Gordon from Newcastle making the first significant move, but his shot was deflected by Spain’s Tenas.
Spain then bounced back into the game, with Alex Baena’s effort narrowly missing Trafford’s post and another shot going wide following a Gibbs-White pass.
A deflected free-kick by Manchester City’s Palmer, off Liverpool’s Jones, gave England the lead. The half ended on a sour note as Palmer’s celebration triggered a clash between both teams, resulting in Ashley Cole, England’s coach, and Carlos Rivera, Spain’s fitness coach, being ejected from the game.
Pressure mounted on England during the second half. It seemed like Spain might turn the tables with a Ruiz header from a Baena cross, but it was ruled offside. Ruiz had another shot at equalising but missed from inside the six-yard box.
The game concluded dramatically when Ruiz was fouled by Levi Colwill. Trafford saved the day with an incredible penalty block and an immediate follow-up save. This sent the English squad into euphoria, though the tension persisted, culminating in nine yellow and four red cards by the final whistle.
With the trophy now in England’s possession, debates will begin about which of these young talents will ascend to the senior team and potentially play in the next senior European Championships.
The Future Number One for England?
Trafford, likely to soon rank as the third priciest English goalkeeper, will justifiably take centre stage for his remarkable double save during the final’s added time.
Beyond this game-winning moment, Trafford was an outstanding presence throughout the tournament.
He demonstrated the skills of a contemporary goalkeeper – adept at footwork, commanding when intercepting crosses and making spectacular saves when necessary.
His self-confidence is noteworthy, previously stating his aspirations to play for England while on loan at Accrington Stanley.
He expressed his ambition to play at the pinnacle of the sport during the tournament, an opportunity he will receive in the upcoming season as the premier goalkeeper at Turf Moor.
Home Team: England U21
Away Team: Spain U21
Possession: Home – 35%, Away – 65%
Shots: Home – 8, Away – 21
Shots on Target: Home – 6, Away – 4
Corners: Home – 0, Away – 9
Fouls: Home – 13, Away – 17
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about England U21 Euro Victory
Who won the European Under-21 Championship?
England won the European Under-21 Championship for the first time in nearly 40 years, with a 1-0 victory over Spain.
Who scored the winning goal for England in the final?
The winning goal came from a deflected free-kick by Cole Palmer off his teammate Curtis Jones.
Who made the crucial penalty save for England?
James Trafford, the 20-year-old goalkeeper, made a critical penalty save in the 99th minute, ensuring England’s victory.
Which team has set a record for six consecutive clean sheets in the tournament’s history?
The English team has set the record for six successive clean sheets in the tournament’s history.
Who is set to become the third most expensive English goalkeeper?
James Trafford is set to become the third most expensive English goalkeeper when he joins Burnley from Manchester City in a deal potentially worth up to £19m.