Leeds United pair eliminated as defender set to be granted extended leave after flawless finish

Leeds United youngsters Charlie Cresswell, Willy Gnonto and Kristoffer Klaesson were all in action for their countries at the Under-21 European Championships on Wednesday evening.
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While Cresswell starred at the heart of defence for England as the Three Lions qualified for the knockout stage, Klaesson and Gnonto did battle against each other in Cluj, Romania.

It was to be the Norwegians who emerged victorious, Erik Botheim’s second half strike enough to secure a 1-0 win, but ultimately the Scandinavians fell short of qualification for the quarter-finals having scored fewer goals than Switzerland in Group D.

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Likewise, Italy were also eliminated at the group stage, but would have qualified for the knockout rounds had they mustered an equaliser against Norway.

Fellow Leeds youngster Leo Hjelde was an unused substitute in the game.

Football Italia gave Gnonto a 5.5/10 for his performance, commenting: “The Leeds forward brought unpredictability to Italy’s final third, but could have been more effective early in the first half when he waited for too long before shooting from inside the box.

"Picked up a knock later on, but slowly recovered.”

In the Georgian city of Batumi, meanwhile, England defeated Germany by two goals to nil with Leeds defender Cresswell playing the full ninety minutes – his first appearance at the tournament.

England's Charlie Cresswell during a squad announcement and media day at St. George's Park (Pic: Simon Marper/PA Wire)England's Charlie Cresswell during a squad announcement and media day at St. George's Park (Pic: Simon Marper/PA Wire)
England's Charlie Cresswell during a squad announcement and media day at St. George's Park (Pic: Simon Marper/PA Wire)
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Donning a protective face-mask after suffering an orbital fracture whilst on loan at Millwall towards the end of last season, Cresswell turned in a reliable display, helping England top Group C with three wins, six goals scored and none conceded. They will face Portugal in the last eight of the competition.

Should England reach the tournament’s finale on July 8, this will delay Cresswell’s return to pre-season training and testing at Thorp Arch.

The 20-year-old is currently scheduled to report back on July 10, eight days after squad members who have not participated in international fixtures this summer. But, England’s progression is likely to mean Cresswell is now granted extended leave.