Why England U21 boss Lee Carsley was 'mindful' of speculation surrounding Burnley-linked James Trafford

Lee Carsley was mindful that James Trafford’s prospective move to Burnley may have affected his performances for his England Under-21 side.
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The 20-year-old was the hero, saving a 96th minute penalty as the Young Lion’s overcame Spain 1-0 to win the Under-21 European Championship final on Saturday.

The Manchester City man didn’t concede a single goal during the entire tournament to cap off an impressive season for the stopper, who also impressed during a loan spell with Bolton Wanderers.

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It’s been widely reported that Vincent Kompany’s side are close to tying up a permanent deal for the goalkeeper for a reported £14m fee, plus add-ons that could take it to £19m.

Given the recent speculation about Trafford’s future, Under-21s boss Carsley admits it was a concern in the midst of such an important competition.

"You always worry – you're mindful when there's transfer things going on in the background and how that affects the players,” he said.

"There's three or four of them that have things going on in the background. The big thing for us is that he understood we were there to support him.

Trafford starred on international duty for England's Under-21 sideTrafford starred on international duty for England's Under-21 side
Trafford starred on international duty for England's Under-21 side
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"I think he'll be absolutely fine. Wherever he goes and wherever he plays, he's got a really top mentality.

“He's been outstanding through the tournament. Not conceding a goal is a great achievement. He's been a really important part of us playing out from the back and playing through."

Trafford made 52 appearances for Bolton last season and kept an impressive 26 clean sheets, which broke the club’s record for shutouts in a single season.

At one point in Bolton’s campaign Trafford kept nine clean sheets on the spin.

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“James has shown this tournament that he is a high-level goalkeeper who is very consistent,” Carsley added.

“It is fair to say he has been very impressive in training and the lads have been very impressed with his level of consistency. I am sure he will have a big future ahead of him.

“We’ve shown with a lot of our players, like Morgan [Gibbs-White] and Anthony [Gordon], that the price tags that go with younger players now is the norm.

“This group of players take that in their stride. I think they are very level headed and humble.”