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Under-fire England U21 boss Aidy Boothroyd says role is ‘the utterly impossible job’ with side on brink of Euros exit


AIDY BOOTHROYD has described the England Under-21 manager position as ‘the utterly impossible job’.

The under-fire Young Lions chief feels that way because of how he sees the pressure to produce players for the seniors conflicting with an expectation to win.

England U21s boss Aidy Boothroyd is under pressure - and described his task as 'the utterly impossible job'

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England U21s boss Aidy Boothroyd is under pressure – and described his task as ‘the utterly impossible job’Credit: Getty

Boothroyd can point to a number of stars in Gareth Southgate’s squad that he has helped develop – including Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

But he has copped serious flak for England’s woeful performance so far at this month’s Under-21 Euros.

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His side are on the brink of a group-stage exit for a second tournament running – barring a minor miracle in Wednesday evening’s do-or-die clash with Croatia.

The debacle in Slovenia means the ex-Watford boss is unlikely to have his contract renewed when his current terms expire this summer.

Boothroyd said: “The England senior job has been called the impossible job.

“Well, the Under-21s job I think is the utterly impossible job.

“The reason I say that is because of the amount of players that have to be produced for the senior team and the expectation to win. 

“There’s a reason why we haven’t won [the Under-21 Euros] for 37 years and there’s a reason we have not progressed as much as we thought we would. 

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The Young Lions have had a desperately disappointing campaign

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The Young Lions have had a desperately disappointing campaignCredit: Getty

“That’s because our primary aim is to get players through to Gareth and that’s what we have done.”

Some will wonder why England could not have fielded eligible stars like Jude Bellingham and Foden in Slovenia this week to give themselves a better chance.

To that suggestion, Boothroyd hit back: “Could you imagine a reserve team manager asking a senior manager for their best players to win the reserve league? That just wouldn’t happen.

“The only team that needs to win is the senior team. Everywhere else, winning is part of it, drawing is part of it and having adversity is part of it. 

“Everyone here in the pathway is here to produce the senior team with players and that’s what we do. 

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“The reason I say that it is the utterly impossible job is because new players come in, younger players come in and the wheel starts again. 

“My job isn’t to ask for Jude, Phil or Mason (Greenwood) or plenty of others, it is about the senior team and it always will be.

If you are at a club where the reserves win all the trophies and the senior team are not. Then there’s something wrong with that club

Aidy Boothroyd

Phil Foden has been playing for Gareth Southgate's seniors

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Phil Foden has been playing for Gareth Southgate’s seniorsCredit: Rex

“It is about getting the Mason Mounts and Phil Fodens ready to take on the world. 

“If you are at a club where the reserves win all the trophies and the senior team are not. Then there’s something wrong with that club. That’s what I equate it to.”

Boothroyd claimed he is unfazed by talk already of his potential successor, with Nicky Butt, Jody Morris and even Frank Lampard mooted.

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The 50-year-old has had phone calls of support from both Southgate and FA technical director John McDemott.

England must beat Croatia by two clear goals in Koper tonight AND need Portugal to win against Switzerland to progress to the knockouts which take place in June.

They will be without Callum Hudson-Odoi who has returned to Chelsea with a shoulder problem, while six more players are doubts including Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe.

Conor Gallagher is set to start. The West Brom loanee said: We will do everything we can. The belief hasn’t gone.”

Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds





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