Where are they now? England’s U21 team from Southgate’s last game
When Gareth Southgate was appointed interim England manager in September 2016 following Sam Allardyce’s fake-Sheikh, pint-of-wine debacle, it was expected to be a temporary measure. Five years later, he’s still in the job.
But if you look at Southgate’s last game as England Under-21 boss, his success in his current role was perhaps not as unpredictable as people might think.
On September 6 2016, his side won 6-1 against a Norway team featuring Martin Odegaard, Alexander Sorloth, Sander Berge and Mohamed Elyanoussi in the first game of qualifying for the Under-21 European Championships.
England lined up in a 4-3-2-1 formation and a young Manchester United attacker by the name of Marcus Rashford forward banged in a debut hat-trick.
Rashford’s exploits aside, it was an all-around thrilling display that would prove to be a fitting last hurrah for a manager who had led the Young Lions to 27 wins in his 33 games in charge.
But what has happened to the players in that side since? We’ve taken a look back at the starting XI and substitutes who featured.
GK: Angus Gunn
Gunn was a youngster at Manchester City at the time of this game but never made a senior appearance at the Etihad and has gone on to play for first club Norwich, on loan, Southampton and Stoke.
In the summer of 2021, he moved back to Norfolk, signing a permanent deal with the Canaries, but is currently behind Tim Krul in the pecking order.
He’s been involved in England senior squads twice, once for a friendly in 2017 and then in the training group for the 2018 World Cup, but is yet to make a full international debut.
Scotland have come calling as a result, notably when Alex McLeish was in charge, but Gunn has so far turned down their advances.
RB: Dominic Iorfa
A regular for Southgate in the Under-21s, Iorfa was hopeful his boss’ promotion might mean one for him too.
“The fact [Southgate] gave me the opportunity for England under-21s and I’ve played a lot of games, and now he’s gone to the seniors, it does look good on paper,” he told the Express and Star.
Unfortunately for him, it hasn’t transpired as such. And with England’s current right-back options, we can’t see him making the step up any time soon,
Wolves let Iorfa go permanently in 2018 after he’d spent their promotion-winning season on loan at Ipswich. Since then, he’s been at Sheffield Wednesday, who were relegated to League One in 2020-21 as Iorfa watched on, sidelined with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon.
CB: Calum Chambers
Chambers had already made over 50 appearances for Arsenal at the time of this game, but things have not progressed quite as expected for the Southampton academy product.
He’s since had spells on loan at Middlesbrough and Fulham and is currently on the fringes at Arsenal, especially now they have signed the excellent Takehiro Tomiyasu. He may well be looking for a move come January.
CB: Kortney Hause
Like Iorfa, Hause played for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Championship before being moved on by Nuno Espirito Santo, in Hause’s case to Aston Villa for £3million.
His appearances were restricted in the 2020-21 season with Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings the pairing preferred by Dean Smith, but with Villa playing a back three this season, Hause is getting more opportunities, and even scored a late winning goal at Old Trafford in September.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) September 25, 2021
LB: Matt Targett
Dean Smith must have been a fan of this young England side.
Targett moved to Villa from Southampton in 2019 and has already made more than 70 appearances for the Midlands club, playing all 38 league games in 2020-21 and winning the Players’ Player of the Season award.
He might have got a right royal runaround from Ismaila Sarr on the first day of the 2021-22 season, but we’re sure he’ll recover.
CM: James Ward-Prowse
Already a Southampton regular by then, Ward-Prowse set up the second goal for England against Norway with a delightful free-kick. In 2021, he’s still a Southampton regular and is still taking delightful free-kicks.
He’s also very much on Southgate’s radar for the senior side and has been called up to replace the injured Kalvin Phillips in the England squad that will take on Andorra and Hungary in October 2021.
CM: Nathaniel Chalobah
The most defensive of Southgate’s midfield three that day, Chalobah nonetheless got on the scoresheet, converting the aforementioned Ward-Prowse free-kick with considerable grace.
He never made the step up to become a first-team regular at Chelsea, instead taking in a series of loans before moving to Watford in 2017.
A couple of injury-hit seasons held him back, but he was a regular in the Hornets’ Championship team last season and has now taken a loan move to Fulham where he will hope to win promotion for a second consecutive season.
CM: Lewis Baker
Remarkably, Lewis Baker is still technically a Chelsea player, but, after making his solitary appearance for the club as an 87th-minute sub in an FA Cup game in 2014, he has not had a look in.
Loans to eight clubs have followed, most recently to Trabzonspor in 2020-21. Having not secured another move this summer, however, he is currently training at Cobham with little chance of getting in Thomas Tuchel’s team.
AM: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Duncan Watmore, 80)
Similarly to Baker, Loftus-Cheek has spent time out on loan after coming through the Chelsea youth teams. But he has also had far more opportunities to play at Stamford Bridge and made a point of staying at the club for the 2021-22 season after an indifferent stint with relegated Fulham last term.
His decision seems to be paying off after strong performances in games against Villa in the League Cup and Southampton in the Premier League.
Watmore, meanwhile, is now at Middlesbrough having left Sunderland in 2020.
AM: Nathan Redmond (Demarai Gray, 80)
A player of whom much was expected, Redmond had just joined Ward-Prowse and Targett at Southampton when England faced Norway.
He has been a regular for Southampton ever since despite a series of managerial changes, and at one point was linked with a move to Arsenal.
But he has not quite reached the levels hoped of him and may forever be remembered for that time Pep Guardiola gave him a weirdly impassioned talking to, like an angry Sunday league dad whose ambitions are greater than his own or his child’s abilities.
Now aged 25, Demarai Gray seems to finally be coming into his own at Everton after a difficult spell in Germany.
Pep Guardiola v Nathan Redmond. This is, er, very odd. pic.twitter.com/zoVCYB88pu
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) November 29, 2017
CF: Marcus Rashford (Chuba Akpom, 84)
We’ll go with the sub first. Akpom came through at Arsenal, but was let go after several loan spells, joining Greek side PAOK in 2018. After two years there, he signed for Middlesbrough, but after a single season on Teesside, he’s opted to move back to Thessaloniki and, frankly, we don’t blame him.
Now to the star of the show. This Norway game was Rashford first and only appearance for the England Under-21s and the fact that he got a hat-trick in front of then England manager Allardyce and future England manager Southgate meant it was always going to be his last.
He’s gone on to become a permanent fixture of the senior squad, fitness permitting, and a key part of the Manchester United team.
More importantly though, he’s doing a great job as Leader of the Opposition.