England Under-21s squad ‘the envy of Europe’ but they’re being led by ‘defeatist’ manager in Aidy Boothroyd amid Joe Cole links

England Under-21s squad ‘the envy of Europe’ but they’re being led by ‘defeatist’ manager in Aidy Boothroyd amid Joe Cole links
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England Under-21s manager Aidy Boothroyd has been accused of having a ‘defeatist’ attitude amid reports ex-Three Lions international Joe Cole could replace him.

talkSPORT has been told the Young Lions’ talented squad is ‘the envy of Europe’ but are being led by the wrong man after their embarrassing European Under-21 Championship exit.


England Under-21 boss Boothroyd is unlikely to last after the Young Lions’ latest big tournament failure

England, who boast a squad full of top talent and Premier League experience, were one of the favourites for this year’s tournament in Hungary and Slovenia.

But they ended up crashing out at the group stage for the second straight Euros under Boothroyd, finishing at the bottom of their group, with the manager coming under heavy fire.

The 50-year-old’s contract expires in July and, while there are no plans for the Football Association to renew it, it is claimed he can reapply for his job.

But recent reports suggest there will be plenty of competition for the post with ex-Chelsea manager Frank Lampard linked, as well as former England winger Joe Cole who has emerged as a surprise contender, according to The Sun.

The 39-year-old obtained his UEFA A licence a year ago and has worked as an academy coach at old club Chelsea as well as hosting training sessions at St George’s Park since hanging up his boots.


Former England, Chelsea, Liverpool and West Ham winger Joe Cole has been linked with the England Under-21s job

Meanwhile, Boothroyd appeared to damage his chances of keeping his job by prescribing the role as an ‘utterly impossible job’ and saying it’s less about winning and more about development, telling talkSPORT: “It’s about producing players and giving them a pathway to the senior team.”

And talkSPORT hosts Natalie Sawyer and Tony Cascarino questioned if that ‘defeatist’ mentality is what England’s young stars need to thrive.

Speaking on Saturday’s Weekend Sports Breakfast, host Sawyer said: “Should we be asking questions of Aidy Boothroyd?


Boothroyd’s contract expires in July but he can apply for his job again

“It’s a very strange thing to say isn’t it? It’s very defeatist.”

Ex-Chelsea and Republic of Ireland striker Cascarino agreed with Sawyer, adding: “I’m very concerned when someone like Aidy says the England U21s is an ‘impossible job’.

“England have got a lot of very good young players, the envy of a number of nations in Europe.

“And yes, you could say Aidy is not getting the best talent available to him, because some of them are moving up into the senior squad, but that happens to a lot of countries, not just England. The elite nations have that quite often.

“There was a period when Kylian Mbappe didn’t play at youth level because he was so good he was drafted into the senior France team. So I don’t quite get it, why he’s said that.


England Under-21s have plenty of Premier League-level talent in their squad, including Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe, Liverpool’s Curtis Jones and Everton’s Tom Davies

“England’s under-21s have had a very poor period. I saw their games and I didn’t think England played particularly well.

“But you look at the team sheet and there are a lot of good players, and players playing for big clubs and getting regular football in the Premier League.

“I thought it was a strange comment, to say it’s an impossible job…

“I’ll tell you what Aidy, there are a lot worse jobs out there than the England Under-21s, by the way – Ireland Under-21s have had a real rough time of it!

“Just look at the success England have had at under-17s and under18s level in recent years – the Three Lions youth teams were Under-20s and Under-17s World Cup winners in 2017, with Under-19s also winning the Euros in 2017 – there’s always an abundance. England don’t have a shortage of players who can step in.”