Aidy Boothroyd is convinced England’s young stars can make an impact on the Euros – because they fold up their dirty kit nicely after games!
The England U21 chief says his “humble” kids have the attitude to take on the best – led by skipper and Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah – and have superior laundry habits that the 2019 squad which went out at the group stage.
Boothroyd, who led England to a semi final penalty shootout defeat to Germany four years ago, has a strong squad with Premier League experience, and says he shunned the chance to choose senior team reject Trent Alexander-Arnold who was eligible.
Boothroyd said: “It is an exciting squad but a humble squad. They appreciate where they are.
“This group of players fold their kit up and put it in the right place for the kit man whereas perhaps the ones before didn’t! Little things like that might be seen a trivial but are important things.
“That’s not to say last year’s were a load of wrong ‘uns, far from it. There were some great guys in there.
“Sometimes you’ve got to get it wrong to get it right and with that particular group they’ve all gone to a man to play Premier League for their clubs.”
Boothroyd is under pressure to deliver in Slovenia, where his squad is in lockdown in a hotel for the next week, because his FA contract ends in the summer.
He said: “It is always about the team and the staff and the environment we put together. I have not thought about my personal situation.
“I enjoy what I am doing, The players are coming through and results have been there over a long period. After that we will see.”
On Liverpool full back Alexander-Arnold, who was axed by Gareth Southgate and could still play at U21 level, Boothroyd said: “There comes a time when he becomes a senior player. He wasn’t a consideration for us.”
Ahead of their group stage opener against the Swiss, Boothroyd added: “We want to play a possession game, score goals, see exciting players, getting us off our feet.
“I think we have clever players, quick players and goal scorers, intelligent athletic defenders and creative midfielders. We have to get the mix right and in 48 hours we have had to get them into shape.”
The tournament, postponed from last year because of the pandemic, is being held in Hungary and Slovenia in two parts – the group stages this month and the knockout stages in May and June.