BRYN Morris and England U18s were left cursing the physicality of their Croatian opponents after their double-header loss this week.
The young Three Lions fell to two successive 2-1 reverses on Monday and Wednesday, in spite of taking the lead in both games.
Captain Morris, who played in central-midfield in the first game but retreated to centre-back on Wednesday as part of a midfield experimentation, explained the rigorous style deployed by the visitors.
“They were really physical, grafted all game and were constantly in our faces,” the Middlesbrough man told SportMail.
“Physically to look at, you wouldn’t say they were bigger than us.
“Technically we were a lot better.
“When we countered they would take fouls for the team and pick up yellows.
“It was all about winning for them. It wasn’t pretty.”
Manager Neil Dewsnip’s pre-conceptions of how Croatia would play did not materialise, though former High Tunstall pupil Morris says the English performances did not warrant two losses.
He added: “We controlled both games but we didn’t take our chances, that’s what let us down.
“The manager said before that Eastern European teams like to drop off and counter but they were all guns blazing.
“They pressed so high and in the first match especially we had no space.
“We couldn’t get a grip of the game.”
Morris trained with Boro’s first team yesterday upon his return from St George’s Park and is firmly rooted in boss Aitor Karanka’s thoughts.
The 17-year-old has been an unused sub for the Championship outfit in the two past weekends and should Karanka give Morris the nod he will be ready to step up to the mark.
“Hopefully I’m in his plans,” he said.
“It’s all experience and I’ve got to be patient because I’m only young.
“But I’ll be ready to take my chance when it comes.”