England’s Emile Smith Rowe (right) during the UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group D 2021 match at Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Picture date: Sunday March 28, 2021.
– Credit: PA
Arsenal youngsters Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith-Rowe are expected to be eliminated from the European Under-21 Championship after England failed to win their first two group games.
Aidy Boothroyd’s side still have a chance to qualify. But after defeats against Switzerland and Portugal, a win against Croatia on Wednesday will probably not be enough to secure a place in the knockout round.
The young Lions have to beat Croatia with two clear goals and Portugal have to beat Switzerland to get to the knockout stage.
Both Nketiah and Smith-Rowe have sought to have an impact on Boothroyd’s eccentric English outfit, with England still not scoring a goal.
Tottenham’s Japhet Tanganga and Oliver Skipp haven’t done much better and all four youngsters will return to north London disappointed after playing both individually and together.
Two years after England’s disastrous European Under-21 Championship is Deja Vu feel when Boothroyd’s future is at stake.
England arguably have an even stronger squad this year, and yet they are not even on track to reach the only point e in squads like Phil Foden, James Maddison and Tammy Abraham two years earlier.
England’s Edward Nketiah reacts during the UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group D 2021 match at the Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Picture date: Sunday March 28, 2021.
– Credit: PA
Nketiah shone in qualifying, beating Alan Shearer’s and Francis Jeffers’ U-21 scoring records. Boothroyd put the 21-year-old in as captain, but he’s seen a shadow of his former self.
Boothroyd’s contract expires this summer and while he survived the 2019 fallout, the FA seems unlikely to renew it this time around .
Boothroyd’s appointment and demise follows a disturbing pattern. According to its critics, the FA has named too many « nice men » over the years – Southgate, Hodgson, and now Boothroyd.
The Times has reported that he only raised his voice once or twice while being defensive His training sessions seem to stifle creativity in the squad.
Frank Lampard and Eddie Howe have been touted as Boothroyd’s successors, but it is unclear whether they would take on a youth manager role.
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