Boothroyd happy with England Under-21s’ progress despite early Euro 2019 exit

England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd insists he has learned to never panic – even after a troubled summer.

The Young Lions wrap up their year with a friendly in Holland on Tuesday after last week’s 3-0 Euro 2021 qualifying win in Albania.

It kept them top of Group Three on goal difference and extended their unbeaten run in qualifying matches to 39.

But despite the under-21s’ record they flopped at Euro 2019 in June, failing to win a game to crash out at the group stage.

It led to questions about Boothroyd’s position but the manager is rational.

“What I’ve learned is really simple, sometimes when you’re reflecting on things you can throw the baby out with the bathwater,” he said.

“Because of my years now I’ve got to a point where I can be a lot more objective. Sometimes it’s not all bad and it’s not all good.

“What we didn’t do was stick our head in the sand or brush anything under the carpet.

“We looked at what do we need to get better at, what have we done well? The ‘What have we done well?’ list was far longer than the other one.

“You learn from it and move on to what is a really good campaign so far.”

Just three of the current squad – Ryan Sessgenon, Phil Foden and Reiss Nelson – played in Italy and San Marino in the summer while others like Mason Mount and James Maddison have graduated to Gareth Southgate’s seniors.

Despite Euro disappointment though, Boothroyd believes positives must be taken from 2019.

“Overall it’s been a good year,” he said, ahead of the game against the Dutch in Doetinchem.

“Pre-Euros a lot of lessons were learned by our players. A lot of things went on behind the scenes like (Lewis) Cook and (Sean) Longstaff getting injured, the problem positions.

“It’s timing too, sometimes everything comes together and sometimes nothing.

“Although I felt we played some terrific stuff at the Euros, the results weren’t what we wanted. Sometimes results can get to you to the point where you don’t look at things objectively.

“Some of the performances and the players who came through, I think we are going to benefit from later on.

“It’s a new team, a new broom and a load of new personalities with lads who are playing more than ever.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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