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

Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd wants to see England become regular tournament winners

Monday 26 Jun 2017
Aidy Boothroyd spoke at a press conference on Monday ahead of the Euro semi-final with Germany

Aidy Boothroyd admits he’s excited at the prospect of facing Germany in Tuesday’s European U21 Championship semi-final.

The Young Lions are playing for a place in Friday’s final and the head coach is hoping his team can excite the watching supporters and pick up a victory too.

But having seen Germany in action during their group stage games, as well as having played them in a friendly in March, Boothroyd remains under no illusions about the challenge that faces his team.

England v Germany
  • UEFA European U21 Championship Finals
  • Semi-Finals
  • 5pm BST, Tuesday 27 June 2017
  • Tychy City Stadium, Poland
  • Live on Sky Sports 1

“It’s exciting,” he said, following his squad’s final training session before the game on Monday afternoon.

“It’ll be tough, but I think it will be a really good game for the neutral and if we stick to the game plan then we have a good chance of getting through.

“But we know this is a massive test for us, a lot of their players are regulars for their teams against men in top leagues whereas a lot of our guys are just breaking through and getting into their teams.

“They’re a good team and a country that have done consistently well over a period of time, and they’re the team which the English want to play and want to beat the most.

“When you want to be the best, you have to beat the best and that’s what we’ll be aiming to do.

“We’ve got to get away from being gallant losers. We’ve got to go out there and get that win that we need to take us through to the final.”

Should the U21s progress, it would be a continuation of what has already been a fine summer for England teams, following on from the titles at the U20 World Cup and Toulon Tournament as well as the U17 Euro Final in May.

Boothroyd during Monday's training session ahead of the semi-final

And Boothroyd admits it’s something which everybody involved with England’s development teams right through to the senior set-up is striving for.

“We have got to get young English players used to being successful in tournaments,” he added.

“It’s about winning, it’s about learning the craft of tournament football because it’s completely different.

“If someone said to me on Wednesday morning if we’ve lost, ‘well done for getting to the semi-final’, I won’t like that.

“In order for us to be better, we’ve got to go and win these games. You’ve got to make these opportunities count.

“It’s massive. The Germans, the Spanish, any team that has been successful, if you look at their track record, if you delve into their history, they have won these tournaments.

“The age groups, from 16 to 21, the teams winning those go on to win the senior tournaments, that’s a fact.

“The problem we have is that we get players to a certain ceiling and then they can’t get into Premier League teams because other players are bought, that’s a problem, but we can’t do too much about that.

“The fact they are playing well in Europe means they might have to go and play in Europe, like Lewis Baker has done, going away and proving people wrong.”

Tuesday's game kicks-off at 5pm BST and will be shown live on Sky Sports 1.

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