Youth Teams
Youth Teams

Young Lions coaches Paul Simpson and Keith Downing leave to join Bristol City

Monday 10 Aug 2020
Paul Simpson has been with England's development teams since 2016

England development coaches Paul Simpson and Keith Downing have both left the Young Lions to take up coaching roles with Bristol City.

The experienced pair will form part of newly-appointed Robins manager Dean Holden’s backroom team at the EFL Championship club.

Simpson originally joined as a national specialist coach in October 2016, before taking over the reins of England MU20s in February 2017.

That summer at the FIFA U20 World Cup in South Korea, the former Manchester City and Derby County player would make history by leading an England side to a first victory at a major global tournament since 1966.

More recently Simpson, who has previously managed the likes of Carlisle United, Rochdale, Shrewsbury Town and Preston North End, has been in charge of the England MU19s squad.

Keith Downing watches on as his England MU19s celebrate winning the U19 EURO title in 2017

Downing joined in July 2015 following a long coaching spell with West Bromwich Albion, initially as England MU20s head coach before taking over the MU19s squad in August 2016.

And like Simpson, he went on to play a significant role in England’s trophy-laden summer of 2017 by leading the Young Lions to the UEFA European U19 Championship title in Georgia.

It was the Young Lions’ first title under the U19 format having previously reached the final on two occasions. Downing had recently been back in charge of the MU20s age group.

“I would like to show my appreciation for the work and contribution Paul and Keith have made to England teams and the growth of the technical division at St. George’s Park," said FA Technical Director Les Reed.

Paul Simpson celebrates winning the FIFA Men's U20 World Cup with his players and staff in 2017

“They achieved notable success on the pitch, winning tournaments and I’d like to recognise their excellent work with our young players progressing through the England pathway, with a number going on to play for our senior team.

“I'm sure their work will prove to be a major factor in the success of England and St. George’s Park as we move through COVID-19 and forward to a new landscape around international football, which I believe will be part of an exciting future for English football.

“Occasionally football throws up opportunities and they are moving on to challenging but exciting roles. They leave with the best wishes of everyone at The FA and I would like to wish them every success.”

By Nicholas Veevers