Euro U21 Championship: England boss Boothroyd relishing pressure ahead of must-win Portugal game


Beleaguered England Under 21s boss Aidy Boothroyd claims he is ‘enjoying’ the pressure ahead of must-win game against Portugal and insists ‘there is no point sulking about it’ after opening defeat by Switzerland

  • England Under 21s lost 1-0 to Switzerland in their opening Group D game
  • It turned up the heat on the Young Lions ahead of facing Portugal in Ljubljana 
  • Aidy Boothroyd, out of contract in the summer, knows what is at stake on Sunday
  • But the boss welcomes the spotlight and insists there is no point in sulking 

England Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd insists he is relishing the pressure ahead of Sunday’s must-win match against Portugal.

The Young Lions lost 1-0 to Switzerland in their opening Euro 2021 Group D game on Thursday.

It turned up the heat ahead of facing Portugal in Ljubljana – especially after Portugal’s 1-0 victory over Croatia following England’s defeat.

England Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd insists he is relishing the pressure ahead of the must-win game against Portugal

England Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd insists he is relishing the pressure ahead of the must-win game against Portugal

The Young Lions lost 1-0 to Switzerland in their opening Euro 2021 Group D game on Thursday

The Young Lions lost 1-0 to Switzerland in their opening Euro 2021 Group D game on Thursday

Boothroyd, out of contract in the summer, knows what is at stake in Slovenia but welcomes the spotlight.

He said: ‘When you are England Under-21s coach there is always pressure. Pressure to get players through, pressure to win. I enjoy that. Strangely enough I do. This is a challenge, I have met challenges like this before and won.

‘We are doing all we can to remain positive and get results. There is no point sulking about it, what has happened has happened, whether it be a fluke (goal) or not.

‘We have to put on a positive display (on Sunday) and get me smiling.’

It turned up the heat ahead of facing Portugal - who beat Croatia 1-0 - in Ljubljana on Sunday

It turned up the heat ahead of facing Portugal – who beat Croatia 1-0 – in Ljubljana on Sunday

Dan Ndoye’s 77th-minute goal, which looped over Aaron Ramsdale after the ball hit the striker’s standing foot, earned Switzerland a deserved win in Koper.

England only had one shot on target – Callum Hudson-Odoi’s free-kick which was saved by Anthony Racioppi – while Bastien Toma hit a post for Switzerland.

The Young Lions also play Croatia on Wednesday and, while Boothroyd has always stated his job is to help bring players through for the senior side, his squad must understand how to win at tournaments.

He said: ‘We have brought players through and we have got plenty but we have had a game we have not done enough to win it. They have to go through this as players and people to come out the other side and be better.

Dan Ndoye's 77th-minute goal earned Switzerland a deserved win in Koper against England

Dan Ndoye’s 77th-minute goal earned Switzerland a deserved win in Koper against England

‘They are a good bunch. I will pick them up and get them going straight away for Portugal.’

Speaking after England’s game against Switzerland on Thursday, Boothroyd told Sky Sports he was not worried by the defeat but insists his side need to take more risks on Sunday.

‘I thought we had a high percentage of the ball but we were not clinical enough.

England only had one shot on target, Callum Hudson-Odoi's free-kick which was saved

England only had one shot on target, Callum Hudson-Odoi’s free-kick which was saved

‘I don’t think we created enough in the final third really and it is as simple as that.

‘The word is cautious. We played a safe game today and if you are going to win you can’t play safe.

‘Am I worried about it? No I am not because the team that goes out against Portugal will be a very attacking team and we will see if we can improve. We have still got a chance.’

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