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Lee Carsley defends much-changed line-up as England Under-21s lose in Georgia

Lee Carsley defends much-changed line-up as England Under-21s lose in Georgia

England Under-21s boss Lee Carsley vowed to take the positives from his experimental line-up being beaten by Georgia.

England Under-21s boss Lee Carsley vowed to take the positives from his experimental line-up being beaten by Georgia.

A much-changed side, with Folarin Balogun the only player to retain his place from the 3-1 win over the Czech Republic in last week’s European Championship qualification match, lost 3-2 in a friendly on Tuesday afternoon.

Two goals from Giorgi Guliashvili, the first a wonderful first-half strike, and a well-taken effort from Giorgi Gocholeishvili gave the hosts a deserved victory.

England showed some fight in the closing stages with goals from Sam Greenwood and Marc Guehi, but it was too little, too late.

Asked if the late double flattered the Young Lions, Carsley said: “No, I don’t think it did.

“I thought how we started the game was good and we had three or four really good opportunities to score.

“The goals we conceded, we probably could have stopped them, but we’ve had a really good look at some players tonight and can take some positives out of it.

“You very rarely get a chance to work on things in friendlies and we changed how we set up from corners, which we conceded from, so we’ve had chance to look at that. We’ve also scored from set-pieces, we’ve been working on that, so that’s pleasing.

“Making nine or 10 changes it has given us a chance to play players who wouldn’t usually start and take a good look at our talent pool.

“I’m not sure what we would have got out of playing our strongest team against Georgia. I don’t know what we would have learned.”

Balogun was forced off half an hour into the defeat. The Arsenal striker, who scored on his first start for the under-21s against Czech Republic, was replaced by Leeds’ Greenwood.

However, fears of an injury were allayed after the game by Carsley.

He said: “He had stomach cramps and he was struggling in the first half so we made a change. He’s not injured, he’s just got a stomach bug. I’m not sure (what caused it).”

Content provided by Radio NewsHub. Originally published on 2021-11-16 20:55:00.

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