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

After second-half comeback over Slovakia, U21s boss felt his side were worthy of win

Monday 19 Jun 2017
Aidy Boothroyd and his staff sing the national anthem ahead of their win over Slovakia

Aidy Boothroyd praised the character of his team as they came from behind to beat Slovakia and register their first win at the Euro Finals.

The Young Lions found themselves a goal down at the break, but turned the match around in the second half when goals from Alfie Mawson and Nathan Redmond secured the three points and top spot in Group A going into Thursday’s final games.

Slovakia 1-2 England
  • UEFA European U21 Championship Finals
  • Group A
  • Monday 19 June 2017
  • Kielce Stadium, Poland
  • Live on Sky Sports

And U21s head coach Boothroyd reflected on a hard-fought win in Kielce, where England will play for a third time when they face hosts Poland in three days.

“I thought, first and foremost, they [Slovakia] are a good team and we had to have a game plan to stop their best player,” said Boothroyd.

“I thought we controlled the game in the middle and the back of the pitch but we didn’t have that final ball in the last third.

“So we might have controlled it, but in the final third but we didn’t penetrate enough so we made a couple of adjustments and they were going almost to a back six as they changed their tactics to protect what they had and it was important that we did something to open them up.

“Sometimes your substitutions come off and sometimes they don’t, but thankfully with Jacob [Murphy]’s first couple of touches he’s delivered a brilliant ball in and Alfie’s managed to score.

“It was a massive game for us because you hear a lot of talk about us not being able to cope with pressure but this was a massive pressure game in a partisan atmosphere.

“We had to be cool, calm and collected and do the job, no matter what was going on around us, so credit to the lads because that’s what they did, I thought they were excellent.

“I think overall, we were the better team and we deserved to win.”

Nathan Redmond celebrates his winning goal against Slovakia


England had to withstand some real pressure in the later stages as Slovakia came out in search of an equaliser to keep themselves in control of the group.

And Boothroyd felt the basis for the performance came from the bedrock of his team in central defence.

“I thought Alfie Mawson and Calum Chambers were fantastic today,” he added.

“They were real rocks at the back with some great blocks and headers and also having the calmness and presence of mind to keep the ball.

“We’ve got to think about Thursday now, go back to the hotel, unpack what’s happened, how we did it and then get ready for Poland.

“It’ll be another partisan atmosphere with a full house and it’s important that we show the same strength of character that we did today.”

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By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels in Kielce, Poland