If Stuart Pearce thought that his England under-21's side loss to Italy in the first game of the European Championships was a blip, he knows better now. The young lions were thoroughly demolished by a disciplined, dangerous Norway side, losing 3-1 on the night to confirm their mathematical elimination from the tournament.
If you were hoping that Nathanial Chalobah, who started in the midfield and played all ninety minutes, was somehow a shiny beacon amidst the filth of the rest of his team... bad news. Chalobah wasn't bad, per se, but he didn't have a major positive impact on the match.
First, the good -- in the opening stages, Chalobah looked excellent. He kept his position well, made some sensible decisions and drove forward with menace when appropriate. But after Fredrik Semb Berge scored via a set piece (the centre half had bundled Chalobah over in setting himself up for the strike), the 18-year-old, like the rest of this England side, seem to try a little bit too hard, going for low-percentage passes in a desperate attempt to get themselves back into the game.
England switched from 4-3-3 to something closer to a 4-4-2 in the second half, and Chalobah's positioning (he was now nominally alongside Jordan Henderson) suffered a little bit as a result. Norway's third goal came after he was unable to track back fast enough to compensate for Steven Caulker losing Magnus Eikrem, allowing him to smash home Marcus Pederson's cutback. Chalobah's last real action of the game was to pick up a yellow card after being hung out to dry by Danny Rose.
This isn't going to be a match that Chalobah will remember very fondly. He wasn't awful, but he certainly didn't step up when the team needed him to help compensate for the complete mess they found themselves in. With one meaningless game to go, against Israel, Pearce will have the chance to give Chalobah and Josh McEachran (who didn't get onto the pitch today) some playing time.