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Five observations from England Under-21's loss to Portugal

Gareth Southgate's England side lost their opening match of the European Under-21 tournament in the Czech Republic, after Joao Mario scored the only goal of the game.

Injuries were a big loss to England

The late injuries of West Brom striker Saido Berahino and Everton defender John Stones really looked to have been a blow to Gareth Southgate's side. Losing two players who would arguably be in the full England squad, and would be key men in the starting eleven, made the Three Lions look weak both up front and at the back, and only time will tell if the absence of the two players will mean an early exit for England.

England central defence looked nervy

England looked particularly unconfident in central defence without Stones. The 21-year-old may miss the Sweden game as well with concussion sustained in training, and the duo of Liam Moore and Ben Gibson just didn't look confident dealing with any aspect of the game. They played passes that put teammates under pressure, they relinquished possession by frequently launching the ball up field, and Southgate's decision to ignore Tottenham's Eric Dier looks like a big mistake given the central defensive options available to him now. Calum Chambers should be considered in central defence in the next game.

England lacked suport for Kane

Though Harry Kane threatened with the few opportunities he got, the vast majority of these were from outside the area, and fashioned from his own making. Without Berahino as company, England failed to score for the firs time in 18 games. Tom Carroll, when he was on the pitch, and then Will Hughes and Danny Ings when they took to the field and pushed up, could not link up with the Spurs star, and at times Kane looked rather isolated while Portugal enjoyed a lot of possession in midfield. Portugal's high pressing game left little space for Kane and his teammates to do any damage.

Carl Jenkinson was a positive outlet

The Arsenal fullback did plenty of good work down the right hand side, bursting forward at every opportunity. The 23-year-old was predictably full of energy as he came forward, just as he was in defence. It's a shame Luke Garbutt couldn't have the same effect on the other side, but Jenkinson showed why Premier League sides are pursuing him this summer, and he looks like being an important attacking player in the tournament.

Alex Pritchard deserves to start against Sweden

The diminutive attacking midfielder only got 10 minutes or so against Portugal, but was full of threat, tricks and clever passes once he was on the field. He was unlucky not to have been in the starting lineup in all honesty, but Pritchard showed that he has to be considered by Southgate on the left side of midfield in the must win game against the Scandinavian country on Sunday. The way in which he set Spurs teammate Harry Kane up for a shot was a passage of quality football that there wasn't enough of for England.

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