Men's Under 21s
Men's Under 21s

England U21s to face a different test against France as boss ready to use his squad

Monday 14 Nov 2016

Aidy Boothroyd wants England Under-21s to send out a message to their Euro rivals, with a strong performance against France on Monday.

The Young Lions face Les Bleus in Bondoufle, on the outskirts of Paris, in their latest preparation game for next summer’s Championship in Poland.

And after overcoming Italy in dramatic fashion in Southampton last week, the interim head coach knows his team will face a more physical proposition in their final game of 2016.

France v England

U21 International Match
7.45pm, Monday 14 November 2016
Stade Robert Bobin, Bondoufle 
Live on BT Sport 

“It will be a different test to Italy and it will be a very difficult test,” said Boothroyd, who plans to make changes to the team who started against Italy.

“They’re a very athletic and quick team and they’re quite similar to us in many ways.

“They haven’t qualified for the Euro finals unfortunately, but they’ll want to beat us because it’s still England versus France.

“So it’s another good game for us and a chance to put a marker down for the rest of Europe to say ‘we’re here, and we want to do well.’”

The squad made the trip across the Channel on Sunday having lost four players from the initial squad which reported to St. George’s Park last week.

With Jordan Pickford joining Gareth Southgate's senior group, Sunday saw Ruben Loftus-Cheek, John Swift and Demarai Gray return to their clubs through injury.

But Boothroyd admits he always planned to utilise his full squad during these two games in order to give all his players as many minutes on the pitch going into the second half of the campaign.

England Under-21s line-up to face Italy in Southampton

England Under-21s line-up to face Italy in Southampton

“I think at this time of the year and the fact that we’ve qualified, we’re planning towards the summer,” he explained.

“The pitches have changed quite a bit and some of the boys have had quite a lot of football, so I think it’s only right that we have a look at one or two others.

“As the season goes on, a lot of things can change and it’s good for everyone to have an understanding of what we’re all about and what it is that’s expected of them.”

Boothroyd brought Swansea City’s Alfie Mawson and Spurs midfielder Harry Winks into the squad for the first time, after catching the eye in their respective breakthroughs at club level.

And they will both make their U21 debuts on Monday after settling and impressing in the squad over the last seven days.

“They’ve both done really well, they’ve fitted in and are both good, solid characters, which is the most important thing in the group,” he revealed.

“As players, neither of them have looked out of place in what is a good group and they’ve done well, so I’m looking forward to seeing them play.”

The match in Bondoufle will be shown live in the UK on BT Sport.

By Nicholas Veevers in Bondoufle, France