Aidy Boothroyd believes his England U21s can look forward to 2019 with confidence, if they can “tighten up” on a few things.
- U21 International Match
- Tuesday 20 November
- Blue Water Arena, Esbjerg, Denmark
- Live on BT Sport
In 2018, the U21s have won ten of their 12 games with only draws with Mexico in Toulon and the Dutch in Euro Qualifying preventing them from a clean sweep as they prepare for next summer’s U21 EURO Finals.
And as a strike from Demarai Gray and a double apiece for Dominic Solanke and Dominic Calvert-Lewin proved enough to beat the Danes, Boothroyd was left satisfied with his squad’s work over the last ten days.
"I’m really pleased, we did some really good things and played some really good football," said the head coach.
"There’s some things we can improve on, so there’s a bit of work to do when we get them back again.
"But to score five goals away from home is never easy, especially against a team which is in the best 12 in Europe, so we’re really pleased.
"We’ve had a good look at some players on this trip and it puts us in a good place. We’ve scored some terrific goals and if we tighten up on a few things we’ll be in a terrific position."
England showed their range of attacking talent on a chilly night in Esbjerg, with Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke adding to his two goals against the Azurrini with another brace.
"I’m pleased for him, to got 90 minutes under his belt and score another two, it’s great for him," added Boothroyd.
"If he’s fit and firing, he’s a natural goalscorer. He’s got two lads in Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tammy [Abraham] who are right on his toes, and they’re playing regular games as well.
"They’re all really talented, but I just think to come in and be able to do what he’s done without playing any games, it’s brilliant."
All eyes now turn to the draw for the Finals, which takes place in Bologna on Friday afternoon, when England will find out who they will face in the group stage of next June’s competition.
Boothroyd will be there and admits he’s looking forward to seeing how it shapes up, having taken the U21s to the semi-final of the last Euro Finals in 2017.
"We come back for the draw and you know the Italians will put on a good show," he added.
"When you look at the teams involved, there’s some fantastic teams and we’re just happy to be in there.
"Speaking to the [Danish] coach after the game, when I said: ‘see you in the summer’, he said: ‘Hopefully not’.
"It’s a nice compliment, but we won’t be getting complacent. We know what we need to work on and what we need to do and the boys are aware of that as well.
"Now this team need to come of age and make sure we do as well as we can in the Euros."