Tottenham Hotspur gem Japhet Tanganga endured a nightmare as England U21s crashed out of the Euros on Wednesday night.
Aidy Boothroyd’s young Three Lions side defeated Croatia 2-1 but went out on goal difference having needed to win by a two-goal advantage and hope that Portugal were victorious against Switzerland.
Domagoj Bradaric fired home a heartbreaking 90th-minute consolation goal to dump Tanganga and co out at the group stage.
And the 22-year-old Spurs prospect had a torrid night.
Tanganga was comfortably England’s poorest player as per SofaScore ratings, as he was graded a 6.3 – not only the lowest of any English defender but the worst of all the Three Lions’ starters.
The 6-foot defender was frequently involved throughout the match, tying for the most touches (67) of the ball alongside centre-back partner Ben Wilmot but he struggled to do much with such influence.
His 69% passing accuracy from 55 attempts was the second-lowest of any England starter, whilst he also lost possession 19 times, meaning he handed the ball back to the game-chasing Croatians once every 3.5 touches.
Tanganga struggled to adapt to their passing play, failing to win a single ground duel, on top of being dribbled past on one occasion and committing one foul, via SofaScore.
90min were equally scathing in their verdict of his performance on Wednesday, after giving him a 5/10 for his troubles, they claimed: “Looked a bit stiff and found himself scurrying back on a couple of occasions after being beaten all too easily.”
According to Spurs boss Jose Mourinho, Tanganga’s future in the game lies at full-back rather than the middle, so it was certainly a strange decision from Boothroyd to move him, having featured on the right last time out.
Speaking in November, the Portuguese told reporters, via football.london: “Tanganga for me is a full-back. A multi-functional defensive player but [firstly] a full-back.”
Indeed, the 22-year-old’s last start for the north London giants saw him start, excel and keep a clean sheet on the right-hand side of defence.
Tanganga undoubtedly has huge potential and is likely to play a big part in Spurs’ future over the coming seasons but on this week’s disastrous evidence, it certainly seems like Mourinho knows what he’s doing with the versatile defender.