Beginning for the England U19 team in their late, thrilling victory over Japan in Marbella was Kobbie Mainoo.
During the international break, the young English team is in Spain playing in a minor tournament alongside Romania, Japan, and Mexico.
Following a half-hour cameo off the bench in England’s lopsided 6-0 victory over Romania, Mainoo supposedly wore the captain’s armband from the outset against Japan.
Mainoo, who played in the center of the midfield, assisted England in taking an early two goal lead thanks to goals from Will Lankshear and Jacob Wright.
It appeared as though England and Mainoo would win easily again, but Japan pulled two back in the first five minutes of the second half thanks to a mistake.
Japan’s first came from Shiogai Kento, who first exposed England’s attempt at an offside trap with a straightforward finish.
Two minutes later, Kento equalized the score with another brilliant strike into the top of the net from the edge of the box, matching his previous best effort.
After Mainoo finally gave way in the 76th minute, Jamie Donley, his replacement, left the most lasting impact.
In injury time, Tottenham Hotspur forward Donley sealed the victory for England with a close-range goal.
Keeper Elyh Harrison, who regrettably missed both of the first two games, is United’s other standout in the u19s lineup.
But as one of only three 2006 born players in the squad, it is impressive that Harrison has been called up above his age group and understandable that his time to play will come.
England u19s will finish out their time in Spain with a final fixture against Mexico on Tuesday in which Mainoo is expected to feature again.