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

Boss praises 'brilliant' England U21s after they beat Poland to progress in Euros

Thursday 22 Jun 2017
England Under-21s head coach Aidy Boothroyd

Aidy Boothroyd paid tribute to his side after reaching the Euro semi-finals with an impressive victory over Poland.

Goals from Demarai Gray, Jacob Murphy and Lewis Baker sealed the win, which saw the Young Lions top their group and progress into the last four in front of a vocal and sold-out crowd in Kielce.

England 3-0 Poland
  • UEFA European U21 Championship Finals
  • Group A
  • Thursday 22 June 2017
  • Kielce Stadium, Kielce
  • Live on Sky Sports

And the head coach was delighted with the all-round team performance from his squad, who now leave their base for the last ten days on Friday to head to Krakow where they will await their semi-final fate.

“I’m really pleased, it was a difficult game in a great atmosphere and the Polish fans sang their hearts out from start to finish so we were the away team again,” said Boothroyd.

“But I thought the players were brilliant tonight, they showed some real composure and scored three really good, and different goals.

“Overall, it was a good performance from a really good squad.

“We knew they’d come at us and get buoyed by the crowd which they did, but we were comfortable for long periods in the game and we managed to keep possession and probe in good areas.

“The lads [Gray, Redmond and Murphy] up front were excellent, buzzing around the back four.

“We were under the cosh a bit, but the speed at which we broke was phenomenal as they missed a chance in our box and within five seconds we were scoring.

“These are important things which we need to keep working on.

“But we’re gaining momentum, keeping composure and keeping clean sheets, so it’s a good place for us at the minute.”

Boothroyd was forced into two changes, with Nathaniel Chalobah replaced by Will Hughes in the first half and Nathan Redmond taken off at the break as a precaution.

Jacob Murphy celebrates scoring England's second goal

But with a five day break before the semi-final next Tuesday, Boothroyd is hoping to have them both recovered by the time the Young Lions line-up again.

“With both of the lads, it was a difficult call because they’re both key players for us and they were both twinges,” he revealed.

“But at this stage, we want to keep everybody fit for the semi-final.

“That’s why we carry a squad, I thought Will Hughes came on and did well, we know what Tammy can do and young Murphy did really well too.

“Hopefully we can get all of our players back fit, that’s the main thing because it’s been great for me having 23 players to pick from.”

Watch the full interview with Aidy below.

 

By Nicholas Veevers in Kielce, Poland