England MU21s boss Aidy Boothroyd is hoping his side can take another big step towards next summer’s U21 EURO Finals with a result in Austria on Tuesday.
The Young Lions capped off their return to action and first game in ten months last week with a 6-0 victory over Kosovo in Pristina putting them top of their qualifying group.
- UEFA U21 EURO Qualifier
- 7.30pm BST, Tuesday 8 September 2020
- Josko Arena, Ried Im Innkeis
They leap-frogged over Tuesday’s opponents in the group table in the process, after Austria suffered a shock home defeat against Andorra in their first game back.
"It surprised me to see them lose, but I knew they'd had one or two problems getting players in,” said Boothroyd, whose squad have since arrived in Austria to prepare for the game.
"What we do know is that they're a hard team to beat and work very hard for each other.
"It was a surprise result, but we might get the backlash of that if we don't prepare properly for the game.
"I'm looking forward to Austria and if we can get two good results, we’ve already got one, that does put us in a very strong position.
"But I'm a cynical manager, and I know if we don't take care of business in the next one, there's no point in worrying about anything else so it's about winning each game at a time and challenging the players to do that.”
The players certainly responded in style on Friday, after a slow start in Pristina saw them level with Kosovo at the break.
But a second-half hat-trick from captain Eddie Nketiah coupled with strikes from subs Reiss Nelson and debutant Jude Bellingham ensured an emphatic scoreline.
And the head coach was pleased with the response after a change in formation transformed the outcome.
"I thought we were rusty, as we haven't seen each other for ten months, especially in the first half,” he said.
“I thought it took us a while to get going, but we improved in the last 15 minutes of the first half.
"We made it difficult for ourselves at times, so we made a shape change but when we have players who can play in different positions, it helps.
“We were outstanding in the second half with the way we played and the attitude the players showed.”