Aidy Boothroyd: Win in red-hot Aktobe crucial for future

Thursday 06 Oct 2016
Aidy Boothroyd won his opening match in charge of the Under-21s

Aidy Boothroyd said his England Under-21s squad have gained a valuable experience in qualifying for the Euro Finals with victory in Kazakhstan.

Demarai Gray’s early strike was enough to collect three points in a cauldron-like atmosphere in Aktobe.

And the interim boss believes picking up an important result in such an intimidating environment will stand the Young Lions in good stead.

Kazakhstan 0-1 England

UEFA European U21 Championship
Group 9 Qualifier
Thursday 6 October 2016
Central Stadium, Aktobe

Boothroyd said: “I thought it was a very good team performance, all the way through. Demarai took his goal very well, with Nathan Redmond breaking and putting a really good cross in.

“That’s what this group of players is capable of doing. They’re very well-organised and know exactly what they’re doing, and this is another little stamp in their passports in terms of learning about the game and dealing with the pressures of coming away and getting results.

“I thought that the way that we played was controlled and composed, and I thought that we created some really good chances – particularly in the first half. We can, perhaps, be a bit disappointed that we didn’t score more goals.”

England are the only nation to have qualified for the last six Euro Finals, and they did so with a game to spare, with Bosnia coming to Walsall on Tuesday night to complete Group 9 proceedings.

“That’s a great achievement,” said Boothroyd, “and really good to know because it’s not easy qualifying – you’ve got to go to some difficult places.

“But when we get to the tournament we’ve got to make sure that we try to do better than [we did] in the last six.”

And with qualification now confirmed, Boothroyd said he might rotate his squad at Banks’s Stadium.

He added: “It’s worked out perfectly well, really. We can look after those lads that have had a tough season up to this point, and make sure that the boys who are on the bench make a difference to us when the game gets tight.”

Tickets for the final qualifier, against Bosnia & Herzegovina at the Banks's Stadium in Walsall on Tuesday 11 October, cost just £1 and are available via the Walsall FC ticket office or by calling 01922 651414/416.

By FA Staff