Jacob Murphy came off the bench to inspire England to victory over Slovakia in the European Under-21 Championship.
Following England’s opening draw with Sweden – in which Murphy played 70 minutes – it was vital they came away from Kielce with a victory in Group A.
Jacob Murphy and Angus Gunn both started on the bench and Slovakia, who were impressive in their opening win against hosts Poland, deservedly took the lead when Martin Chrien headed home from a corner in the 23rd minute.
With England struggling to create opportunities in the first-half, Slovakia were well worth their 1-0 advantage at half-time.
Manager Aidy Boothroyd made a change at the break, with Murphy coming on as second-half substitute, taking up an unfamiliar position at right-back.
It didn’t take Murphy long to make his mark: five minutes after the restart, an England corner made its way out to Murphy on the right, and his whipped first-time cross was met by Alfie Mawson, who stabbed it past Adrian Chovan.
Shortly after, Chovan had to get down quickly as Murphy went close with a left-footed drive from outside the area as England increased the pressure. In the 60th minute, that pressure counted when former Canary Nathan Redmond picked up a searching ball from James Ward-Prowse on the left, before cutting inside and blasting it past Chovan it into the corner with the help of a deflection.
England began to retreat and had to soak up constant Slovakia pressure in the final 20 minutes, with Murphy putting in an excellent shift at full-back. He picked up a yellow card in the 86th minute for a shirt-tug as England held out to keep their European hopes alive.
The victory put England top of the group, and they take on hosts Poland on Thursday.