Emotional Jack Butland 'gutted' after England's Euro exit

Wednesday 24 Jun 2015
Jack Butland was clearly upset after England's elimination from Euro 2015

Jack Butland says England have "no excuses" after their exit from the UEFA Under-21 Championship. 

Needing at least a draw from their final group game against Italy to reach the semi-finals, the Three Lions found themselves three down with just over 70 minutes played in Olomouc. 

Nathan Redmond finally netted for England in stoppage-time, after they had had the majority of chances, but it was too little too late as Gareth Southgate’s men were eliminated, along with the Azzurri.

England 1-3 Italy

UEFA European U21 Championship Finals
Group B
Wednesday 24 June 2015
Ander Stadium, Olomouc, Czech Republic

And the emotional skipper admitted that their lack of potency in front of goal ensured England got what they deserved.

“As you can imagine I’m extremely disappointed,” said Butland at full-time. “We just weren’t good enough on the day.

“It’s fine margins in these tournaments and we conceded two sloppy goals in two minutes and it cost us our tournament.

“You have to be ruthless at both ends of the pitch, our box and the other, and we weren’t that and haven’t quite been that all tournament.

“You can play as well as you like between the posts but it doesn’t matter if you’re not good enough at either end, and today we weren’t."

Andrea Belotti opened the scoring on 25 minutes with a well-taken volley, then Marco Benassi doubled their lead two minutes later, tucking away after Lorenzo Crisetig powerful forward run carved open the space in England's midfield.

Benassi's towering header clinched it for Luigi Di Biagio's team, but Butland was disappointed with how they conceded the goals, particularly the Torino forward's brace.

Danny Ings

England striker Danny Ings can't hide his disappointment

“They were completely avoidable,” said the Stoke City stopper.   

“It’s stuff we knew they would do. So we can’t have any excuses. 

“We knew what to expect from them, they are crafty, they are lively, but we played better football than then between the boxes – you can’t excuse yourself playing like that at either end. 

“We didn’t deserve anything from the game. You have to be at it all day. It doesn’t matter how good you are off the pitch, how well you prepare, you have to be able to bring it when you need it. 

“Today we were made to pay.”

England are the only nation to have played at the last five UEFA Under-21 Championships, but having reached the semi-final in 2007 and then the Final in 2009, they have failed to make it out of the group stages for the last three tournaments. 

Marco Benassi celebrates his first half strike

Marco Benassi bagged a brace for Italy, who also went out

And for Butland it was double disappointment as he was involved two years ago when the Young Lions returned from Israel without a point. 

He is now too old to compete for the Under-21s, but hopes the experiences can help him and his team mates in the future as they target the senior team.

“For me, I’m gutted. I’ve been very proud to lead this team and to feature in championships, playing for your country is always an honour,” said the 22-year-old.

“Again it’s a learning curve, we have to take something from it and improve. This can’t be the end, there has to be something else. We’ve got to take our experiences and get better from them.” 

He added: “You can tell by the effort the lads put it, we don’t give up, we don’t stop, and you can tell that by the end.

“A goal could have come for us earlier, things could have gone our way. You can never question the effort the time and hard work the lads have put in to this tournament and over the last two years. 

“People wanted to be here there’s no doubt about that.”

By Nicholas Veevers In Olomouc