Foden misses out as England crash out of Euro 2019
England face Croatia in their final Group C game in San Marino.
Aidy Boothroyd’s selection gamble backfired as England Under-21s crashed out of Euro 2019.
Romania sealed a 4-2 win during after a lively end to the match in Cesena, as the Young Lions suffered a second straight defeat in Italy.
All six goals came in the final 14 minutes after George Puscas’ penalty opened the scoring.
Ianis Hagi also scored for Romania but Demarai Gray and Tammy Abraham twice levelled, only for Dean Henderson to let Florinel Coman’s shot through his hands before the midfielder added a fine fourth.
Phil Foden was surprisingly named as a substitute after his fabulous solo goal against France, with Boothroyd wanting to manage his minutes despite the midfielder starting just 15 games since August.
But he was desperately missed as the Young Lions lacked creativity and a second Group C defeat sealed an early trip home.
Romania made a mockery of England’s rotation policy by naming an unchanged side following their 4-1 win over Croatia and went at England in the first half.
Henderson was forced into an unorthodox save with his foot to stop Hagi’s 30-yard effort after four minutes.
Soon after the goalkeeper turned Andrei Ivan’s low drive behind at his near post before the striker missed a golden chance just seconds later.
The FC Krasnodar forward beat the offside trap to control Puscas’ header but with just Henderson to beat he fired wide from eight yards.
It was a massive let-off for England and Boothroyd’s side had been second best – although James Maddison’s free-kick dropped inches wide.
They continued to struggle with Romania’s tenacity and needed Henderson to bail them out again after 14 minutes.
Maddison’s loose pass allowed Puscas to break and the ball ran for Hagi in the area, who nudged it to Dennis Man but Henderson produced an excellent one-handed stop.
England missed Foden’s vision and ability to keep them moving with Mason Mount and Kieran Dowell outnumbered in the midfield battle.
The Young Lions only threatened sporadically but they survived another scare just after the half hour.
A sloppy pass from Maddison allowed Puscas to wriggle free down the left and Henderson turned his shot into the path of Man who bundled in – but England were saved by an offside flag.
The disjointed England were unbalanced with not enough defensive cover in midfield with Hamza Choudhury banned.
Ryan Sessegnon replaced Harvey Barnes at the break and despite their first-half inertia England almost went ahead three minutes after the restart.
Maddison swung a corner in for the unmarked Dowell and his header was cleared off the line by Florin-Bogdan Stefan.
Foden made his belated entrance after 57 minutes for the injured Sessegnon and forced Radu into a smart near-post stop almost immediately,
Radu then palmed away Maddison’s low 18-yard effort but Henderson needed to be alert to collect Alex Pascanu’s header after 65 minutes.
But England conceded their third penalty in two games – after France missed two on Tuesday – when Jonjoe Kenny clipped Coman and Puscas found the bottom corner from the spot with 14 minutes left.
Three minutes later England levelled when Gray cut in from the left and curled in off the post from 20 yards.
Yet Hagi made it 2-1 five minutes from time when he drilled in from distance only for Abraham to find the corner two minutes later.
But Henderson’s error allowed Coman to make it 3-2 in the 89th minute and, after Abraham hit the bar, Coman’s brilliant 20-yard volley in added-time added the gloss for Romania.