England’s Under-21s opened their European Championship campaign with a narrow 1-0 defeat to Italy on Wednesday night.
Rovers midfielder Jason Lowe played the full 90 minutes for Stuart Pearce’s side, who saw their nine-match winning streak ended by Lorenzo Insigne’s late free-kick.
Ciro Immobile and Insigne both went close for Italy early on, before Lowe almost opened the scoring for the Young Lions as the half-hour approached. Collecting a pass from Marvin Sordell, the Rovers man advanced from midfield before seeing a low long-range strike fizz just past the post.
England had two goals disallowed in quick succession after the interval, as Connor Wickham was flagged offside, before Craig Dawson’s header was ruled out following a foul by Steven Caulker.
The Azzurrini always looked dangerous in possession and grabbed the winning goal 11 minutes from time. Nathaniel Clyne pulled down Manolo Gabbiadini on the edge of the box and Insigne curled the resultant free-kick over the wall and inside Jack Butland’s near post.
England are back in action again on Saturday against Norway, who drew 2-2 with hosts Israel in the other Group A game.