England Under-21s 2-0 Kosovo Under-21s: Phil Foden brace proves crucial for Young Lions

9 Sep

Phil Foden’s double secured England Under-21s a 2-0 win against Kosovo in their Euro 2021 qualifier at the KCOM Stadium.

Manchester City midfielder Foden followed up a rebound to give England a half-time lead and lashed home his second in stoppage time.

Phil Foden hit a brace
Getty Images - Getty

The Young Lions followed up Friday’s 3-2 victory in Turkey by ensuring six points from their opening two Group Three matches.

Aidy Boothroyd’s side should have won by a bigger margin and it was for long periods a frustrating night for a crowd of 15,258 as the hosts failed to cash in on their dominance.

Kosovo, top of Group Three at kick-off after wins against Andorra and Turkey, began full of confidence and forced England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale into the first save.

Winger Lirim Kastrati, not to be confused with Kosovo’s left-back who has the same name, raced on to a ball over the top and saw his low shot turned away for a corner.

The young English side got the job done
Getty Images - Getty

England made just one change from the side that won in Turkey, with Norwich defender Ben Godfrey in for Jonathan Panzo, but were slow into their stride.

They had only just begun to find any kind of cohesion by the time Foden gave them a 25th-minute lead.

Steven Sessegnon’s shot was cleared off the goal-line by defender Kastrati and Foden followed up to force the ball home.

Foden’s influence grew and so did England’s dominance. Tom Davies headed Foden’s corner narrowly over and Reiss Nelson’s shot from inside the area was well saved by Kosovo goalkeeper Florjan Smakiqi.

Kosovo served warning of their threat on the break just before half-time when Ardit Gashi lashed a low effort narrowly wide.

Foden was the star man
Getty Images - Getty

England should have doubled their lead soon after the restart, but Eddie Nketiah pulled his low effort wide.

Todd Cantwell and Mason Greenwood replaced Reiss Nelson and Morgan Gibbs-White just after the hour-mark as England looked to turn their superiority into more goals.

Cantwell’s shot was fumbled for a corner by Smakiqi, but they still had little to show for all their possession and only a brave lunge in the box by Max Aarons denied Kosovo a clear scoring chance.

Aarons limped off and was replaced by James Justin and as England looked set to settle for a single-goal win, Foden pounced on a loose ball in the area in the fourth minute of added time and lashed his shot into the top corner.

England Under-21s beat Turkey in Euro 2021 qualifying campaign opener thanks to heroics from Arsenal duo Nketiah and Nelson

6 Sep

Arsenal duo Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson helped England’s Under-21 side get their Euro 2021 qualifying campaign off to a winning start after beating Turkey 3-2 in Izmit.

Following their premature exit in the group stages of the European Championships in the summer, Aidy Boothroyd had a new look side going into the game.

Arsenal man Nelson scored the winning goal in the second-half

Just six members of the squad for this month’s qualifiers have previously played for the Young Lions – Nketiah one of them.

The striker put England ahead and, although Turkey turned the game around, Nketiah and Reiss Nelson struck in quick succession to secure the win.

In the build up to the match Boothroyd was bullish about the job he has done bringing players through and said he was relishing the next two years with a new squad, and there were signs why that would be the case.

England started well and went ahead after just four minutes following a good move involving Steven Sessegnon and Phil Foden down the left side of the penalty area.

Nketiah scored England’s fist two goals

Foden’s low cross was missed by two Turkish defenders allowing Nketiah, who is spending the season on loan at Leeds United, to stab the ball home from seven yards out.

Nelson had an even clearer opportunity to score in the first half but the teams went into the interval level after Dogukan Sinik raced clear and scored after 25 minutes.

England made a sluggish start to the second half and they paid the price six minutes after the restart. A well-worked corner saw Mert Muldur get away from his marker and his free run to the near post saw him flick the ball past Aaron Ramsdale.

Now behind, Boothroyd’s side were struggling defensively and getting turned around in midfield too easily as Turkey sensed they might be able to put the game beyond England.

However, two goals in as many minutes turned the match on its head.

Foden was the architect again, darting goalwards before threading a lovely pass to Nketiah just inside the penalty area and the Arsenal forward, on loan at Leeds, provided a tidy finish.

Immediately afterwards, Nelson netted what proved to be the winning goal with a low shot that may have taken a deflection off a Turkish defender.

The hosts had a goal ruled out for offside as they searched for an equaliser but England held on for the victory to justify Boothroyd’s pre-match optimism.

Jamie O’Hara hits out at ‘school teacher’ Les Reed for accusing England Under-21 stars of ‘arrogance’

5 Sep

Jamie O’Hara has slammed Les Reed for his comments about the England Under-21s, arguing the FA technical chief is stuck in the past.

Reed hit the headlines on Thursday morning by accusing the Young Lions of ‘over-confidence’ and ‘arrogance’ following their woeful European Under-21 Championship campaign earlier this summer.

Aidy Boothroyd’s side exited at the group stage with just one point from their three games, but Reed was keen to shift any blame from the manager.

The Young Lions were among the favourites to win the tournament in Italy
Getty - Contributor

“So, was it Aidy? No, it wasn’t. It was a number of things,” said Reed.

“I think it was probably over-confidence. It was a mental thing in believing they were going to win the tournament and probably being over-confident and then actually realising in game play that there is another team out there and it’s not a walkover.

“I think when you want to win tournaments, you need to be confident. You need to have a bit of a swagger.

“But it doesn’t need to border on the arrogance and I think getting that balance right, I didn’t think we achieved that completely.”

And former England youth international O’Hara believes the comments are typical of Reed’s ‘school teacher mentality’, insisting arrogance isn’t necessarily a bad trait in the modern player.

“I dealt with Les Reed in the England set up and I always felt he had a bit of a school teacher mentality,” O’Hara told talkSPORT. “I was never a big fan of him and the way he was.

Les Reed was critical of the Young Lions’ attitude
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“There was always a strict itinerary and strict discipline. I never really liked it, but Les Reed was all for that.

“He never liked players who were over-zealous or had something to say.

“For me, saying that about the players is completely wrong because the game’s changed.

“There are players at a young age who are full of confidence and full of arrogance, but arrogance is not a bad thing.

“To get to the top, you need to have that arrogance. To go into a tournament and think, ‘We’re going to win’, what’s wrong with that?

“Aidy Boothroyd got it wrong, tactically he got it wrong. Les Reed is trying to stick up for him.”

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.


Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Germany vs Netherlands (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
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England Under-21s: Man United starlet Mason Greenwood handed debut call-up and is joined by Foden, Brewster and Nketiah in squad

30 Aug

Mason Greenwood has been called up to the England Under-21 squad for the first time having broken onto the scene at Manchester United.

Greenwood, the forward, has played three times for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side this season after making his debut against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League in March.

Greenwood enjoyed a productive pre-season with Man United and has featured in all three of their matches to date

The Young Lions travel to Turkey on September 6 before hosting Kosovo in Hull three days later in their opening Euro 2021 qualifiers.

“I’m really excited by this new group of players and when I look at the squad we have put together, it’s very encouraging to see that so many of them have been playing regular football in the Premier League already this season,” said boss Aidy Boothroyd.

“The more English players that we see playing regularly in the Premier League, the better, so all of the England coaches are really pleased about that.”

Norwich trio Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey and Todd Cantwell are included for the first time along with Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster, Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, and Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah, who is on loan at Leeds.

It is Boothroyd’s first squad since the summer’s disappointing Euro 2019 where England failed to win a game and were knocked out in the group stage.

Just three of the squad for Italy and San Marino who are still eligible have returned, including Manchester City’s Phil Foden, Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson and Wolves midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White.

Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly and Chelsea’s Reece James are missing with injury but Everton’s Tom Davies returns after sitting out Euro 2019 because of a shoulder problem.


Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

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“The likes of Reece James and Lloyd Kelly have been unfortunate to pick up injuries, as it’s likely that they would also have been in the squad,” added Boothroyd.

“Of course our biggest priority is player development and getting them ready for the senior side.

“It’s been particularly pleasing to see three of the players that were with us at the Euros this summer be called up into Gareth Southgate’s squad and we’ll work with every individual in this group to give them the chance of doing the same.”

England Under-21 squad in full:

Balcombe (Brentford), Ramsdale (Bournemouth), Trott (AFC Wimbledon, on loan from West Ham), Aarons (Norwich), Chalobah (Huddersfield, on loan from Chelsea), Godfrey (Norwich), Guehi (Chelsea), Justin (Leicester), Panzo (Monaco), Sessegnon (Fulham), Wilmot (Swansea, on loan from Watford), Cantwell (Norwich), Davies (Everton), Foden (Manchester City), Gibbs-White (Wolves), McNeil (Burnley), Richards (Reading), Skipp (Tottenham), Willock (Arsenal), Brewster (Liverpool), Greenwood (Manchester United), Nelson (Arsenal), Nketiah (Leeds, on loan from Arsenal)

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 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.