Aidy Boothroyd: 'Difficult' to lift England players after another loss

Aidy Boothroyd admits he will ‘find it difficult’ to pick up his England players after defeat at the hands of Portugal left U21s facing early Euros exit… and he is ‘trying to put his finger’ on why his stars are underperforming

  • England Under-21s are facing the prospect of another Euros group stage exit
  • Aidy Boothroyd’s side were beaten 2-0 by Portugal Under-21s on Sunday night 
  • The young Lions have a mountain to climb if they want to reach the knockouts 
  • Boothroyd admits it will be tough to lift his players but has not given up hope 

Aidy Boothroyd admits it will be difficult to lift his England Under-21s players after yet another defeat at the European Championships this international break. 

The young Lions followed Thursday’s 1-0 defeat to Switzerland with a 2-0 loss to Portugal’s youth team on Sunday night, leaving them staring down the barrel of another group stage exit from the competition.

England’s Under-21s side exited this stage of the competition last summer and are struggling again, even with the likes of Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe and Liverpool’s Curtis Jones available for selection. 

Aidy Boothroyd says it will be hard to raise his England Under-21s side after another Euros loss

The young Lions went down 2-0 to Portugal on Sunday and look likely to exit at the group stage

Boothroyd admits he is struggling to find reasons why the Three Lions are not creating in the competition but has refused to give up hope on qualifying for the next round. 

He told reporters after Sunday’s defeat to Portugal: ‘We’ve tried to put our finger on why we’re not creating. We’re talking about top players here. 

‘It’s a slim mathematical chance (to qualify for the next round). I’m going to find it difficult to pick us up.

‘We’ve got some hope and wherever there is hope, we have to go after it.’

Francisco Trincao scored in the second-half to leave England pointless after two games

Boothroyd made several changes for the Portugal clash, dropping the likes of Dwight McNeil, Ebere Eze and Max Aarons to the bench with Ryan Sessegnon, Noni Madueke and Japhet Tanganga getting starts. 

But England failed to find the scoresheet on Sunday night with Dany Mota, who plays in the Italian second division for AC Monza, and Barcelona forward Francisco Trincao finding the net after half-time. 

England now need to beat Croatia by two clear goals in their final group match, whilst also hope Portugal beat Switzerland in the other group fixture on Wednesday.

The Three Lions have the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah (above) in their squad

Boothroyd has not given hope yet of England reaching the knockout stages later this year

The young Lions came into the tournament as one of the favourites to win the competition, which has been split across the March and June international breaks, but Boothroyd has dampened claims that England were pre-tournament favourites.  

The England Under-21s manager added: ‘We’re only favourites in the English press. We have good players, there is no doubt about it, but so have other countries and you have to give credit to your opponent.

‘We’ve had a lot of success and this is a difficult time but it is not a time to mope around, it is a time to talk through what has happened and how it can be made better.

‘We came here to play three games and full intend to play three games properly. But we are very disappointed, we wanted to go into the final game with it still in our hands and unfortunately it’s not.’ 

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