England 3 Croatia 3: Young Lions pegged back three times – talkSPORT commentary of European Under 21 Championship clash

24 Jun

England have already been eliminated and play their final European Under-21 Championship clash tonight – and it will be live on talkSPORT 2.

Aidy Boothroyd’s side have struggled at the tournament, losing both their Group C games so far to France and Romania.

Despite having arguably one of the strongest squads in Italy, England will be heading home early after their final group game against Croatia.

Questions have been raised over Aidy Boothroyd’s position following England’s disappointing campaign

The Young Lions will want to hit back and end the competition on a positive note by producing their best against a Croatian side who are also already out.

England lost in dramatic circumstances against France last week, conceding two late goals after Hamza Choudhury was sent off.

But they were then well beaten by Romania on Friday, losing 4-2 with all six goals coming in the final 14 minutes.

Can Boothroyd’s squad bounce back before returning home? talkSPORT will have full coverage of it all.

England U21 vs Croatia U21: How to listen

The Group C tie will get under way at 8pm UK time on Monday, June 24.

Full commentary from the Stadio Olimpico di Serravalle in San Marino will be live on talkSPORT 2, with our coverage getting underway at 6pm.

Jim Proudfoot and Darren Bent will bring you all the build-up and live commentary and to tune in, just click here for the live stream or click the radio player below.

You can also listen through the talkSPORT App, on DAB Digital Radio or on MW 1053 or 1089.

For more information about how to listen LIVE on talkSPORT click here.

England U21 vs Croatia U21: What has been said?

Aidy Boothroyd has vowed to take criticism on the chin ahead of his side’s final Euro 2019 match.

He said: “I’m experienced enough to know when it’s good, it’s great and when it’s not so good, it’s not so good. It comes with the territory. When things are going well I’ll answer all the questions and the same goes for now.

“We had what seemed like a couple of hours having a chat about things (with the media) on Saturday and I hope you get to see the real me.

“When things are going great it doesn’t get any better but if you want to get better you have to have a bit of adversity and you have to respond properly to it.

“Anyone who thinks it’s all plain sailing has clearly not been in football very long.”

Man City star Phil Foden was left out of England’s starting XI against Romania
Getty Images - Getty

England U21 vs Croatia U21: Teams

England: Henderson, Kenny, Clarke-Salter, Tomori, Kelly, Foden, Dowell, Maddison, Gray, Abraham, Nelson.

Subs: Gunn, Wan Bissaka, Dasilva, Solanke, Konsa, Barnes, Mount, Calvert-Lewin, Gibbs-White, Woodman.

Croatia: Grbic, Uremovic, Kalaica, Katic, Cabraja, Vlasic, Sunjic, Moro, Majer, Kulenovic, Brekalo.

Subs: Posavec, Sosa, Benkovic, Halilovic, Ivanusec, Bistrovic, Borevkovic, Basic, Muric, Bradaric, Semper.
Referee: Orel Grinfeld (Israel)

England Under-21s: Aidy Boothroyd aka ‘Hoofroyd’ got the job because he was friends with FA chief Dan Ashworth, claims Danny Murphy

24 Jun

Danny Murphy has suggested Aidy Boothroyd is the wrong man for the England Under-21s job, saying he was only appointed as manager due to his friendship with former FA chief Dan Ashworth.

Boothroyd’s future in charge of the Young Lions is in doubt after his side crashed out of the European U21 Championship after just two games.

England were one of the big favourites to win the tournament, boasting players with Premier League and Championship experience, but they have failed to make it out of their group following error-strewn defeats to France and Romania.

Ashworth, now at Brighton, was director of elite development at the FA when ‘Hoofroyd’ – a nickname he earned for his tactics as Watford boss – was first appointed U21 boss in 2017, after Gareth Southgate was promoted to senior team manager.

The pair have a close relationship which goes back years – first working together at Peterborough 16 years ago and then again at West Brom, where Ashworth was Boothroyd’s assistant in their youth set-up.

Aidy Boothroyd and Dan Ashworth, with England manager Gareth Southgate at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

Ashworth then took his friend’s job at the Hawthorns after Boothroyd left, eventually becoming the club’s technical director in 2007 before moving to the FA five years later.

In 2014, after being sacked by Northampton with the club at the bottom of League Two, Boothroyd followed the mate to the FA when he was appointed England U20s boss.

And Murphy believes the coach’s was not based on merit and that Boothroyd is not the right fit for the U21s job.

The former Liverpool midfielder told talkSPORT host Jim White: “Bothroyd got this job at a time when Northampton were bottom of the league when he left, and then he got into the England U20s, then the 19s and then U21s.

“He is supposed to be a decent guy, and this it’s not a personal thing, but for me his relationship with Dan Ashworth [is why he got the job].

“Did he get the job on merit? No, not really. There’s a bit of nepotism there and we have to be honest with that.

Boothroyd has come under fire for his team selections at the Euro U21 Championship

“His nickname when he left Watford was ‘Hoofroyd’ – his football philosophy is not what he’s trying to do with the U21s.

“If you’re trying to convince a group of players to play a certain way, when really you don’t want to play that way because nothing in your history as a manager suggests that’s your natural philosophy – that’s a problem.

“It’s because he’s working for the FA and they’ve told you to play that way.

“It’s not just about the tactics, though, it’s about the mentality of young players who are earning a lot of money and who are superstars and you need somebody in charge who understand that.

England players are crestfallen as they are knocked out of the Euro U21 Championships in Italy

“Results aren’t that important with the U21s, either, player development is crucial. Player development and results, yes.

“I’m talking about the biggest picture, not this particular tournament.

“You’re talking about players responding to a coach, looking up to him, being inspired by him and being taught the right things.”

England Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd vows to take criticism on chin following European Championship disappointment

23 Jun

England Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd has vowed to take criticism on the chin ahead of his side’s final European Championship 2019 match.

The Young Lions face Croatia in San Marino on Monday having already been eliminated from Group C.

Questions have been raised over Aidy Boothroyd’s position following England’s disappointing campaign

Friday’s 4-2 defeat to Romania in Cesena condemned them to an early exit, with Boothroyd – who signed a two-year extension in May – insisting he would not quit.

He has come in for criticism following his substitutions and selections having dropped Phil Foden on Friday but Boothroyd is prepared for the flak.

He said: “I’m experienced enough to know when it’s good it’s great and when it’s not so good, it’s not so good. It comes with the territory. When things are going well I’ll answer all the questions and the same goes for now.

“We had what seemed like a couple of hours having a chat about things (with the media) on Saturday and I hope you get to see the real me.

“When things are going great it doesn’t get any better but if you want to get better you have to have a bit of adversity and you have to respond properly to it.

“Anyone who thinks it’s all plain sailing has clearly not been in football very long.”

Nine players, including Manchester City’s Foden, from the current squad can play in the 2021 qualifying campaign.

And Boothroyd wants all of his squad to target a spot in Gareth Southgate’s senior set-up.

Maddison was a bright spark in an otherwise disappointing campaign for England

“It’s a positive that the senior team manager is here and the technical director (Les Reed) is here. That’s good for them and it’s an opportunity so they have to take it,” he said.

“Every time they put on an England shirt they should think about the long term and playing for the seniors.”

But Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham will sign off his under-21 career on Monday.

He will start after coming off the bench to score in Friday’s Romania defeat and is eager to finish on a high.

He added: “It’s been good for me on a personal level but it’s the last time, my last under-21 game, and I’d like to end on a high, score some goals, play well and show everyone what England are truly made of.”

Hamza Choudhury remains banned after his red card in the opening 2-1 defeat to France.

European Under-21 Championship: Tony Cascarino slams Aidy Boothroyd’s treatment of Manchester United transfer target Aaron Wan-Bissaka

22 Jun

Tony Cascarino has slammed England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd for his treatment of Manchester United target Aaron Wan Bissaka at Euro 2019.

The Young Lions crashed out of the tournament after losing 4-2 to Romania on Friday.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is developing into a promising right-back

Crystal Palace right-back Wan-Bissaka was dropped to the bench for the crucial game following his injury-time goal in a 2-1 defeat to France three days earlier.

And talkSPORT host Cascarino has hit out at Boothroyd for failing to back Wan-Bissaka, who is reportedly closing in on a £55million move to Old Trafford.

He told the Weekend Sports Breakfast: “I hated the decision on Wan-Bissaka, I thought it was terrible.

“You want trust from your team, you want your players to trust that the manager is going to back you.

Questions will be raised over Aidy Boothroyd’s position following England’s disappointing campaign

“He [Wan-Bissaka] has made a mistake, one mistake in a game, if he’s your number one right-back, you play him again.

“All this talk of Manchester United and having his head turned, [it’s] nonsense.

“He made a mistake in a game, back him, tell him he’s still going to be number one. I think there were loads and loads of issues over the course of the two games.”

Wan-Bissaka made 35 Premier League appearances for Crystal Palace last season.

And he has been tipped for a senior England call-up in the future.

Cascarino added: “I watched him handle [Christian] Eriksen, [Eden] Hazard, [Alexis] Sanchez, he’s handled a good few wide men and he’s done it brilliantly.

“Now, if he’s going to be a scapegoat for the result against the French and on the day before the [Romania] game, we all knew he was out of the side, I found it really strange, I didn’t like it at all.”

European Under-21 Championship: England boss Aidy Boothroyd explains Phil Foden snub and insists he will not resign after shock exit

22 Jun

England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd insists he will not resign following his side’s shock European Championship exit on Friday.

There were high hopes of England winning the tournament with the likes of James Maddison, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Phil Foden featuring in an exciting squad.

There have been calls from fans urging Aidy Boothroyd to quit

However, the Young Lions’ 2-1 loss to France was followed up with a 4-2 defeat to Romania on Friday.

When asked about his future, Boothroyd, who signed a new two-year deal last month, said: “They’ll have to carry me out.

“I am surprised by the question. It is not reflection on should I stay or go, but reflection on what we have achieved and what we could have done better.

“It is important to have a proper debrief about it.

Manchester City’s Phil Foden was controversially left out of England’s starting XI against Romania

“We have to pick the bones out of it. If we are going to win a tournament like this there are things we have to improve on.”

Questions were raised over Boothroyd’s team selection against Romania as Foden, who scored a superb solo goal in the France defeat, was dropped to the bench.

The Manchester City starlet was brought on in the 57th minute as England conceded four late goals.

Explaining his decision to leave Foden out from the start, Boothroyd said: “There is a fine line to tread. I have got to look after Phil.

“We all thought it would be right for him to come in as the game wore on and weave his magic.

“We want to keep him as fit as we can. We don’t want him to break because he is a terrific player.

“There is no agreement with Manchester City. We follow him on a regular basis, we know where he is training and playing along with everything else.”

England Under-21s crash out of European Championship after 4-2 defeat to Romania in Cesena

21 Jun

Aidy Boothroyd’s selection gamble backfired as England Under-21s crashed out of Euro 2019.

Romania sealed a 4-2 win in Cesena – with all of the goals coming in a crazy final 14 minutes – as the Young Lions suffered a second straight defeat in Italy.

England players are crestfallen as they are beaten for the second time
Romania celebrate the victory which has booked them a spot in the knockout stages
Boothroyd got the big calls badly wrong against Romania

George Puscas’ penalty opened the scoring on 76 minutes after Jonjoe Kenny’s poor challenge.

Ianis Hagi also scored for Romania but Demarai Gray and Tammy Abraham twice levelled, only for Dean Henderson to let Florinel Coman’s shot through his hands before the midfielder added a fine fourth.

Phil Foden was surprisingly benched after his fabulous solo goal against France, with Boothroyd wanting to manage his minutes despite the midfielder starting just 15 games since August.

But he was desperately missed as the Young Lions lacked creativity and a second Group C defeat sealed an early trip home.

Romania made a mockery of England’s rotation policy by naming an unchanged side following their 4-1 win over Croatia and went at England in the first half.

Henderson was forced into an unorthodox save with his foot to stop Hagi’s 30-yard effort after four minutes.

Soon after the goalkeeper turned Andrei Ivan’s low drive behind at his near post before the striker missed a golden chance just seconds later.

The FC Krasnodar forward beat the offside trap to control Puscas’ header but with just Henderson to beat he fired wide from eight yards.

It was a massive let-off for England and Boothroyd’s side had been second best – although James Maddison’s free kick dropped inches wide.

They continued to struggle with Romania’s tenacity and needed Henderson to bail them out again after 14 minutes.

Maddison’s loose pass allowed Puscas to break and the ball ran for Hagi in the area, who nudged it to Dennis Man but Henderson produced an excellent one-handed stop.

England missed Foden’s vision and ability to keep them moving with Mason Mount and Kieran Dowell outnumbered in the midfield battle.

Foden was not introduced until around the hour mark

The Young Lions only threatened sporadically but they survived another scare just after the half hour.

A sloppy pass from Maddison allowed Puscas to wriggled free down the left and Henderson turned his shot into the path of Man who bundled in but England were saved by an offside flag.

The disjointed England were unbalanced with not enough defensive cover in midfield with Hamza Choudhury banned.

Ryan Sessegnon replaced Harvey Barnes at the break and despite their first-half inertia England almost went ahead three minutes after the re-start.

Maddison swung a corner in for the unmarked Dowell and his header was cleared off the line by Florin-Bogdan Stefan.

Foden made his belated entrance after 57 minutes for the injured Sessegnon and forced Radu into a smart near-post stop almost immediately,

Radu then palmed away Maddison’s low 18-yard effort but Henderson needed to be alert to collect Alex Pascanu’s header after 65 minutes.

But England conceded their third penalty in two games – after France missed two on Tuesday – when Jonjoe Kenny clipped Coman and Puscas found the bottom corner from the spot with 14 minutes left.

Three minutes later England levelled when Gray cut in from the left and curled in off the post from 20 yards.

Yet Hagi made it 2-1 five minutes from time when he drilled in from distance only for Abraham to find the corner two minutes later.

Hagi of Romania celebrates after scoring for his side

But Henderson’s error allowed Coman to make it 3-2 in the 89th minute and, after Abraham hit the bar, the Coman’s brilliant 20-yard volley in injury time added the gloss for Romania.

England U21 vs Romania U21 confirmed teams: Phil Foden and Aaron Wan-Bissaka dropped as Aidy Boothroyd makes drastic changes

21 Jun

Phil Foden and Aaron Wan-Bissaka dropped to the bench for England Under-21s’ must-win game against Romania.

The Young Lions return to Cesena for their second European Championship game after they threw away a lead against France on Tuesday evening, losing 2-1 in stoppage time.

The England players could not believe they let their lead slip against France

Crystal Palace defender Wan-Bissaka paid the price for his display and late own goal in Tuesday’s defeat. with boss Aidy Boothroyd saying he had been distracted by his protracted move to Manchester United.

Manchester City’s Foden missed out despite his solo goal while Jonjoe Kenny, Mason Mount, Harvey Barnes, Kieran Dowell and Dominic Calvert-Lewin started. Hamza Choudhury is banned after his red card on Tuesday.


England U21: Henderson, Dasilva, Clarke-Salter, Kenny, Tomori, Dowell, Barnes, Gray, Mount, Calvert-Lewin, Maddison.

Subs: Gunn, Wan Bissaka, Solanke, Foden, Sessegnon, Kelly, Konsa, Gibbs-White, Nelson, Abraham, Woodman.

Foden scored a stunning solo goal for England

Romania U21: Radu, Manea, Nedelcearu, Pascanu, Stefan, Man, Baluta, Cicaldau, Ivan, Hagi, Puscas.

Subs: Cabuz, Boboc, Coman, Petre, Grigore, Dragomir, Ghita, Nedelcu, Rus, Ciobanu, Olaru, Vlad.

Only the group winners are guaranteed to advance into the semi-finals.

Boothroyd said: “If we’re going to get out the group, we need to get maximum points.

Jake Clarke-Saltar was adjudged to have handled the ball against France

“We’re all very disappointed but we have no time for sulking. If you don’t take your chances and stop your opponent, you put yourself in a vulnerable position.

“We could quite easily have gone in 3-0 [up] at half-time [against France]. I thought we were the better team by a long way in the first half.”

But Boothroyd’s team has not gone well with some supporters, who cannot believe City starlet Foden starts on the bench after his wonder goal against the French.

Check out the reaction from fans below.

European Under-21 Championships: Predicted England line-up for Romania clash, including Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United targets

21 Jun

England and Romania meet for the first time at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship final tournament in the second round of Group C games.

The Young Lions are looking for their first points of the tournament having conceded two late goals to lose 2-1 to France in their opening fixture and you can listen to the match LIVE on talkSPORT.

Boothroyd’s side were defeated against France

In contrast Romania recorded their first ever finals victory on matchday one, beating Croatia 4-1 thanks to strikes from George Puşcaş, Ianis Hagi, Tudor Băluţă and Adrian Petre.

This is the sides’ first competitive Under-21 meeting since October 2010, when they were paired together in play-offs for the following year’s final tournament.

England were 2-1 first-leg winners in the home first leg in Norwich thanks to goals from Jordan Henderson and Chris Smalling, going through by the same aggregate score after a goalless second game in Botosani.

Choudhury let his side down against France

Meanwhile, England Under-21s boss Boothroyd has refused to discuss what the Young Lions may need to do to qualify following their cruel defeat at the hands of the French.

He said: “There could be all sorts of connotations by the end of it. There are tight margins. If we had stopped our game on 86 minutes we’d be saying what a good performance it was.

“Incidents happen and you have to deal with them. You recognise the time to go in and get things moving and other times where you say nothing and let the group do it themselves. The focus this week has been very good.”

Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury was sent off against France for an awful challenge and is therefore suspended for the match.

But how could the Young Lions line-up against Romania? talkSPORT.com has given our predicted XI below…

Is this how the Young Lions could line-up against Romania?

With Choudhury out through suspension, Boothroyd has little choice but to replace him with another midfielder and Mason Mount is one of his only options.

There is not a clear replacement for Choudury in the line-up and it is unlikely Boothroyd will change his whole set-up to accommodate a 3-4-3 formation so he will most likely make sure each midfielder tracks back or has one stationary orchestrator in front of defence.

Dominic Solanke struggled to make an impact against France and Tammy Abraham could come in as his replacement.

Euro 2019: Phil Foden and James Maddison named in Aidy Boothroyd’s England Under-21 squad

27 May

Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Leicester City’s James Maddison have been named in England’s Under-21 squad for Euro 2019.

Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who was tipped for a senior call-up this summer, has also been selected along with Chelsea starlets Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomoroi and Mason Mount.

Phil Foden was part of Manchester City’s treble-winning squad last season

Manager Aidy Boothroyd has also called up Wolves midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White for the first time in a squad of few surprises.

However, there is no place for Everton winger Ademola Lookman.

England face France, Romania and Croatia in Group C, with their opening game against France on June 18 in Cesena.

Boothroyd, who signed a contract extension earlier this month, said: “This is a really strong squad and I’m really pleased with the group of players I’ve got, who will be representing us at the Euros.

“We have a big pool of talent in the England set-up and I had some tough selection decisions to make as there’s a lot of strength in depth.

Ademola Lookman’s playing time has been restricted under Marco Silva

“We have a real mixture in terms of age and experience. We’ve got Tammy [Abraham], Demarai [Gray] and Angus [Gunn] who were part of the Euros squad in 2017, but also have nine players who are young enough to be eligible for the next qualifying campaign.

“This group have also won a lot at youth level and know the work and application that it takes.

“We’ll need that experience and winning mentality for the Euros. It’s always a really tough tournament and I think this year is as strong as it’s ever been.

“It’s a great opportunity for our players to showcase their talents as individuals and as a team.”

The full squad is below…


Angus Gunn (Southampton), Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Freddie Woodman (Newcastle United)


Jake Clarke-Salter (Chelsea), Jay Dasilva (Chelsea), Lloyd Kelly (Bournemouth), Jonjoe Kenny (Everton), Ezri Konsa (Brentford), Fikayo Tomori (Derby County, loan from Chelsea), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace)


Harvey Barnes (Leicester City), Hamza Choudhury (Leicester City), Kieran Dowell (Everton), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Morgan Gibbs-White (Wolves), James Maddison (Leicester City), Mason Mount (Derby County, loan from Chelsea), Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham)


Tammy Abraham (Aston Villa, loan from Chelsea), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Demarai Gray (Leicester City), Reiss Nelson (Arsenal), Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth)

England Under-21’s 1-2 Germany Under-21’s: Felix Uduokhai strikes late at the Vitality Stadium to give Aidy Boothroyd plenty to ponder before Italy

26 Mar

Aidy Boothroyd’s England Under-21 side saw their unbeaten run come crashing to a halt courtesy of a stoppage-time winner from Germany.

The Young Lions failed to clear a corner and Benjamin Henrichs played a cute cross into Felix Uduokhai, who took a touch and scored.

Uduokhai celebrates his late winner

After going 19 games unbeaten, England looked set to make it 20 after Dominic Solanke cancelled out Mahmoud Dahoud’s stunning touch and volley in the first half.

However, despite looking direct and dangerous on the break, the youngsters were too loose in midfield and the Germans decisively slick when it counted.

With Euro 2019 slowly but surely creeping up, Boothroyd will have to re-gather his troops and use the defeat as a learning curve ahead of the tournament in Italy.

The Young Lions protested after Kyle Walker-Peters went down with a head injury

More to follow…