The later this Newcastle United employee returns, the better
And then there was one.
Emil Krafth’s Sweden bowed out of Euro 2020 last night in agonising fashion. Ukraine scored a dramatic 121st-minute winner in Glasgow to book a quarter-final tie against England.
That just leaves Switzerland’s Fabian Schar as Newcastle United’s sole playing representative left in the tournament, which will reach its conclusion at Wembey on July 11.
Krafth, 26, came off the bench for a fourth time at Hampden Park with the score level at 1-1.
The defender – who impressed during a late-season run in Steve Bruce’s team as Newcastle pulled away from relegation trouble – is now looking forward to a well-earned rest with his family.
Speaking to the club’s website last week, Krafth said: "Since I came to Newcastle, we've had two seasons in a row (due to Covid-19), and then you jump into the Euros, so I'm looking forward to some time off to see friends and family after the Euros, because I haven't seen my daughter for a month now.
“Of course, you miss them, and you want to spend some time with them when you have your days off after the Euros.”
Schar, meanwhile, will have to wait for a rest. The 29-year-old defender – who calmly converted his penalty in Switzerland’s shootout win over tournament favourites France – is proudly playing for his country.
But Schar is also seemingly playing for his future amid speculation over a summer move despite the club having extended his contract, which had been due to expire at the end of the month.
Schar may be the only United player left at Euro 2020, but one club employee could go all the way in the tournament.
Callum Wilson didn’t make Gareth Southgate’s squad, but Graeme Jones made his backroom team, and the coach, so important to Newcastle, has come to the fore on England duty.
Jones has been seen at work on the training pitch in a series of YouTube videos posted online by the Football Association, and he has also been issuing final instructions to Southgate’s substitutes, most recently for last night’s historic 2-0 win over Germany.
United’s players will start returing to the club’s training ground next week for Covid-19 testing and the start of pre-season training, but Jones, it’s hoped, will be a very late returnee.