Aidy Boothroyd admitted England’s Under-21’s exit from Euro 2021 was “devastating” but insisted he was still the right fit for the job.
England came out in the group stage despite beating Croatia 2-1 in their last game. A 2-0 win would have seen the Young Lions pass, but Domagoj Bradaric scored an astonishing goal in the stoppage time. While not changing the outcome of the game, it had greater significance, putting Croatia to the test at the expense of England.
Boothroyd came under pressure after England failed to win their first two group matches. Indeed, he admitted that they have given themselves a “mountain to climb” with their previous results.
But reacting to the elimination, the 50-year-old said he hopes players can learn from the experience.
He said Sky Sports: “I thought we were excellent tonight. We have been criticized for not being creative, but tonight we were very creative in everything we did.
“But we missed opportunities that we would normally take and lose like we did, to get to the position where we were – and he goes. [Bradaric] never to score a goal like that again – it’s very disappointing.
“As for the group, we gave ourselves a mountain to climb and we almost did. But unfortunately we lose by one goal and those are the nice margins.
“It’s devastating now, but an experience like this is something that will stay with you forever and that will benefit the players in their careers and that’s what the U21s stand for; it’s a development team. “
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Boothroyd answers questions about his future
Out of contract with England this summer, Boothroyd is under pressure. We revealed earlier that this tournament will likely be his last and a number of substitutes have been lined up..
But when asked about his future, Boothroyd insisted he was still the right fit for the job.
He replied, “I think so; the number of players who have been through this season would suggest that there is a path that works.
“Our younger players know they have a chance to play in the first team because of the way we are structured. Of course, this is important and we want to win; but producing players and winning tournaments at the same time is very difficult.
“I love getting involved with these players, I like it and it makes it harder to deal with it and answer questions. I will continue and we will see what happens.