'These are the challenges and experiences that we need'

Saturday 05 Sep 2015
England Under-19s head coach Aidy Boothroyd
Aidy Boothroyd says his side are relishing overcoming the challenge of Croatia on Monday, after defeating Germany.

The England Under-19s head coach and his squad flew to Zagreb on Saturday, having battled to a 3-2 success in Bergisch Gladbach on Friday.

And the feat was made even more remarkable after the team coach arrived late at the stadium and his side were reduced to ten men moments after half time when Jonjoe Kenny saw red for handling on the line.

England U19s' Euro trip

Germany 2-3 England
Friday 4 September 2015
BELKAW Arena, Bergisch Gladbach
Croatia v England
Monday 7 September 2015
Sveti Josip Radnik Stadion, Zagreb

"The whole development programme needs games and situations like this,” the former Watford boss told TheFA.com. 

"This is what we are in it for, it's not just playing foreign opposition it's about what happens in games and other sorts of things that you can't control and have to learn to deal with

"It was a really good performance and it took so much to get it. We had to score goals, we had to defend for our lives against a really good German team. We had to ride our luck at times but in the end I thought we deserved what we got because of the character we showed."

Following the sending off of his full-back, Boothroyd was happy to stay with a three-man defence when many others would have been tempted to immediately remove a forward for another defender.

And he was rewarded for his boldness when Dominic Solanke put his side ahead before Ainsley Maitland-Niles made sure of the victory later in the second half.

"It just shows I'm maybe a little bit longer in the tooth than one or two others - maybe because I've had more players sent off than most," quipped the boss.

"Myself, Tim Dittmer (Goalkeeper coach) and Lee Carsley (assistant coach) had a little chat about it, and in the end we did eventually have to dig in and change from a 3-4-2 to a 4-3-2. We then ended up 4-4-1 and it was just 'don't let them in' and a bit of parking the bus for the last few minutes.

England Under-19s line-up to face Germany.

Aidy Boothroyd's England U19s defeated Germany 3-2

"Having said that, we scored twice when we only had ten men. You have to give the opponent a problem and not just sit back. But sometimes it isn't too much about the systems but more about the players that are on the pitch and they dug in and got the result."

Next it is onto Zagreb and the challenge of Croatia, another difficult test for his charges ahead of their European Championship qualifiers next month.

"Going on to Croatia it makes it an even more important game for us," he added. "We won't be getting complacent after one game, even though it was a great result in a tough environment.

"We want to build on that and it will be a great challenge.

"They are a good side who have beaten Spain and Japan away from home, but that's the whole point of putting the programme together, to test yourself against the best.

"We want to go to environments that are not comfortable and that's what we did last night and what we will face in Croatia.

"We knew they'd both be tough games. It doesn't frighten us but it's something we are relishing and really looking forward too."

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer