'Unforgettable moment' for former Luton defender Justin as he makes his full England debut in Hungary defeat

Full back starts for the Three Lions at the Puskas Arena
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Former Luton defender James Justin described making his senior England debut in their 1-0 Nations League defeat against Hungary on Saturday as an ‘unforgettable moment.’

The 24-year-old, who began his career at Kenilworth Road, playing 114 times before a switch to Leicester City in the summer of 2019, was named in the starting line-up by manager Gareth Southgate for the match in Budapest.

Supposed to played behind closed doors to punish Hungary and their fans for their behaviour at Euro 2020, the Uefa's Article 73 was invoked which mean children aged 14 and under could attend as long as they were accompanied by an adult, meaning over 30,000 were actually in attendance.

Justin started on the left of the Three Lions’ defence, with Liverpool defender Alexander-Arnold on the right, while West Ham’s Jared Bowen was also making his maiden start.

The ex-Hatter got through plenty of work as Hungary looked to attack the flanks, before picking up a knock and replaced by Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka at half time.

After the break, the hosts netted the only goal of the game when Chelsea defender Reece James felled Zsolt Nagy in the area and Dominik Szoboszlai beat Everton stopper Jordan Pickford from the spot.

Afterwards, boss Southgate was asked if it was a difficult debut for the ex-Hatters’, replying: “Yes, it was.

Former Luton defender James Justin on the ball during his England debutFormer Luton defender James Justin on the ball during his England debut
Former Luton defender James Justin on the ball during his England debut

"I think a couple of passes went astray, and he got caught defensively early on, and that’s a big test in those moments.

“He also was feeling something a little bit in his calf, which hopefully is OK, but I felt we wanted to put Bukayo on at that stage anyway, to give ourselves a little bit more of an attacking thrust.

"Look, it’s not easy to come in after three, four days and go straight into the team. Normally we would do that process slightly differently.

"You’d start on the bench, you’d have a bit longer with us, and we would blood people in.

"We felt we wanted to do that (start him)."

Despite the result, Justin tweeted afterwards: “An absolute honour to make my senior @england debut last night!

"Thank you for the support everyone has shown me on the journey to get to this unforgettable moment!”

Justin will be hoping to be available for the next game in Germany tomorrow night, before home games against Italy and Hungary the following Saturday and Tuesday.