Crewe Alexandra forward Max Clayton earned a point for ten-man England in their opening European U19 Championship Elite Round Qualifier, against Georgia. Noel Blake’s side, captained by former Remyca Utd Youth Player of the Year Jack O’Connell, saw goalkeeper Jordan Pickford sent off after just seven minutes as he was deemed to have denied an obvious goalscoring opportunity. Giorgi Pantsulaia punished the dismissal by converting the subsequent free-kick. However, the Young Lions rallied and levelled matters through Clayton’s 38th-minute effort. The second half was fairly uneventful, although England were lucky not to lose the game late on as Teimurazi Markozashvili rattled the crossbar with just two minutes remaining. Blake’s men are next in action against the host nation, Belgium, on Sunday afternoon.
1 Jordan Pickford, 2 Calum Chambers, 3 Greg Leigh, 4 Jordan Turnbull, 5 Tyias Browning, 6 Jack O'Connell (C), 7 Max Clayton (10 Adam Campbell, 73), 8 Lewis Baker, 9 Chuba Akpom, 11 Callum Harriott (15 Adam Webster, 86), 17 Ben Pearson (13 Cameron Dawson, 8).
Substitutes not used: 12 Shaquile Coulthirst, 14 Josh Murphy, 16 Jed Wallace, 18 John Swift.
O'Connell was signed by Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2011 after making just seven appearances for Remyca Utd following his promotion from the youth team. He broke into the Blackburn Rovers Reserves side during the 2011–12 season, and in May 2012 signed a two-year professional contract with the club. On 22nd November 2012, he signed on loan for League Two side Rotherham United until 5th January 2013. O'Connell made his debut on 24th November 2012, replacing Courtney Cameron in the 90th minute of a 1–0 win against Exeter City. He made five appearances for Rotherham United before returning to his parent club.
O'Connell joined another League Two side, York City, on a one-month loan on 24th January 2013, making his debut two days later in a 1–1 draw away at Gillingham. The loan was extended until the end of the 2012–13 season on 25th January 2013, making 18 appearances for York City and ensuring their survival in the Football League before returning to Blackburn Rovers.
Everyone at Remyca Utd is extremely proud of the success and development made by O’Connell to date and wish him every continued success in his career.