Sunderland striker Wickham out of luck as England U21s lose Euro opener

MY BALL ... England and Sunderland striker Connor Wickham (left) battles Italy's Matteo Bianchetti
MY BALL ... England and Sunderland striker Connor Wickham (left) battles Italy's Matteo Bianchetti
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CONNOR WICKHAM was unable to prevent England Under-21s suffering a losing start to the European Championships tonight after a controversial 1-0 defeat to Italy.

The Sunderland hitman played 82 minutes for the Three Lions and tucked the ball into the net early in the second half, only for it to be correctly ruled out for offside.

But the big moment of debate arrived a minute later when West Brom’s Craig Dawson thought he had broken the deadlock, only for the referee to spot a push.

Italy then punished Stuart Pearce’s side with 11 minutes to go when Lorenzo Insigne converted a superb free-kick to end England’s run of nine straight victories.

England’s next group game is against Norway, on Saturday.