May 14, 2021

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Where are they now? The XI from Aidy Boothroyd’s first England U21 game


Aidy Boothroyd has resigned as England U21 manager after nearly five years at the helm of the Young Lions.

England were eliminated from the 2021 European Under-21 Championships in the group stage, finishing last in their group behind Portugal, Croatia and Switzerland thanks to a late goal conceded in their last game.

Boothroyd’s contract was in place this summer, but the decision was made to end it early, with the 50-year-old saying: “It has been the greatest privilege to represent the FA and lead the England sides in high level tournaments.

“Although we did not finish as we wanted, I am very proud to have been able to work so closely with players who I know will continue to have remarkable international careers and to have lived very specials with them. years.”

Boothroyd took the job in 2016 after moving up from the U20 level to replace Gareth Southgate, who had taken over the senior squad following the departure of Sam Allardyce. His first job was to complete the qualifying campaign for Euro U21 2017, with two games to play in the squad. His first game at the helm came against Kazakhstan on October 6, a 1-0 victory with a talented squad.

So how have the 13 players Boothroyd used in Kazakhstan fared over the past four and a half years?

Goalkeeper: Freddie Woodman

Age: 24
Club: Swansea City (on loan from Newcastle United)
Senior England caps: 0

Freddie Woodman made his England U21 debut in Boothroyd’s first game at the helm, keeping a clean sheet in Kazakhstan, but the goalkeeper did not take advantage of the explosive growth many would have hoped for. He would represent England U21 just five more times before stepping out of the age bracket, spending a lot of time with the Young Lions as deputy to Dean Henderson and Angus Gunn. Woodman did, however, win the U20 World Cup in 2017 after his U21 debut.

At club level, Woodman is currently on his sixth loan spell away from Newcastle, spending his second consecutive season in the league with Swansea.

Right-back: Mason Holgate

Age: 24
Club: Everton
Senior England caps: 0

Like Woodman, Mason Holgate’s U21 debut came against Kazakhstan at right-back, his first position before moving to central defense in recent years. Sadly, Holgate also followed Woodman by only playing six times for the U21s before overtaking the squad, but he appeared in all four of England’s matches at the U21 European Championships in 2017 as they reached the semi-finals. under Boothroyd. There were rumors that Holgate had switched allegiance to the Jamaican national team and applied for a passport, but he was not called up for the last international break.

Holgate has played an important role in Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton side this season, starting with right-back, center-back and even midfielder, and seems to be a long-term fixture for the Toffees.

Center-back: Calum Chambers

Age: 26
Club: Arsenal
Senior England caps: 3

Calum Chambers was one of Boothroyd’s most experienced Under-21 players in the opener, having already played 15 games before after breaking through at Southampton and then joining Arsenal. But that’s far from the strangest thing of his international career. Chambers made his senior debut in England ahead of the Under-21, making three appearances in 2014 as the Three Lions began qualifying for Euro 2016. He hasn’t played since, however.

Injury issues have seriously hampered Chambers’ career so far for club and country, but he is starting to enjoy a run for Arsenal.

Center-back: Rob Holding

Age: 25
Club: Arsenal
Senior England caps: 0

Rob Holding hasn’t been on the Young Lions squad for too long, making just five appearances in total, with the game against Kazakhstan being his third. Holding was an unused replacement at the U21 Euros 2017, but is still awaiting a senior first call.

Like his Arsenal team-mate, Holding suffered badly with injuries but appears to have finally broken his streak of bad luck, being one of Mikel Arteta’s starting center-backs this season.

Left-back: Brendan Galloway

Age: 25
Club: City of Luton
Senior England caps: 0

Returning to another player who made his debut in Boothroyd’s opener, Brendan Galloway’s very short England U21 career lasted only three matches. He was previously called up for the Young Lions under Southgate but did not and could not play due to his struggles at club level.

Galloway left Everton in 2019, joining the championship side Luton Town, where he barely played due to injury.

Defensive midfielder: Nathaniel Chalobah

Age: 26
Club: Watford
Senior England caps: 1

One of the real big stars of this squad, Nathaniel Chalobah made his Under-21 debut in 2012 at the age of 17 and no matter who the manager was, was always there for the Young Lions. Under Boothroyd in particular, he played nine times (bringing his total to 40, the second-most Under-21 caps won by an England player) before aging after the 2017 Under-21 euros. The 26-year-old has so far only made one appearance for the senior England squad.

Chalobah is one of the greatest ‘what could have been’ players in England and it really isn’t his fault. The midfielder got lost in the loan system at Chelsea and, leaving for Watford for good after impressing, was plagued with injury issues. Although it seems to have evolved from that now.

Central midfielder: James Ward-Prowse

Age: 26
Club: Southampton
Senior England caps: 6

James Ward-Prowse was another regular at England’s U21s, playing 31 times in total after making his debut in 2013. The midfielder was captain under Boothroyd and one of the team’s most talented players, making his debut among seniors just before Euro U21 2017. But he had to wait two years for his next match and about a year to finally be a regular in England, and in contention for Euro 2020.

The midfielder has performed at a consistently high level for Southampton for years and is now truly seen as a contender for Lionel Messi for the title of best free kick specialist in European football. He has scored four in the Premier League this season, the most in Europe’s top five leagues. No wonder Pep Guardiola once called him “the best free kicker I’ve seen in my life”.

Central midfielder: Lewis Baker

Age: 25
Club: Trabzonspor (on loan from Chelsea)
Senior England caps: 0

Lewis Baker was another talented group from England, a scoring midfielder, but like too many others he has not been able to translate that at senior level. The 25-year-old has made 17 appearances in total for the Under-21s, scoring eight goals including one at the 2017 Under-21 Euro.

Baker is currently in the eighth loan period away from Chelsea and has suffered a few bad shots for a variety of reasons.

Attacking midfielder: Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Age: 25
Club: Fulham (on loan from Chelsea)
Senior England caps: ten

Before Ward-Prowse, Ruben Loftus-Cheek would have been considered the only success of this U21 XI in terms of transition to senior level. Loftus-Cheek was another scoring midfielder, scoring seven in 17 games for England U21s, but missed Euro U21 2017 with a back injury. The midfielder has won 10 caps for England so far and was part of the Three Lions squad at the 2018 World Cup, starting two of their group matches.

But, again: injuries. Loftus-Cheek was breaking into the Chelsea squad at the end of the 2018/19 season and one of their best players until he suffered a serious ankle injury in a friendly which he hasn’t fully recovered, either in terms of ability or confidence. .

Attacker: Demarai Gray

Age: 24
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Senior England caps: 0

Demarai Gray was the goal hero against Kazakhstan, opening the scoring in six minutes, his first of eight goals for England’s Under-21. One of the youngest members of that squad, Gray stayed with the Under-21s until 2019 and was called up for the senior squad but did not enter the pitch. Like Holgate, Gray is eligible for Jamaica and a change has been announced but nothing has happened yet.

A brilliant young talent, Gray failed to show his abilities consistently enough for Leicester and eventually fell down the pecking order before moving to Bayer Leverkusen in January. He has only started four league games in Germany so far.

Forward: Nathan Redmond

Age: 27
Club: Southampton
Senior England caps: 1

Nathan Redmond was the veteran of this U21 group, having made his debut in 2013 at 19, and going until the end of Euro U21 2017. The striker has played 38 games in total for the Young Lions, only Chalobah and James Milner handling more appearances, as he is one of five players to break through in double digits for goals (scoring 10). However, all that youth experience only gave Redmond one selection to the England senior squad, a friendly against Germany in 2017 (has since been recalled without playing, however).

Redmond remains a reliable club-level option for Southampton, although he has had to divide his appearances this season between starts and cameos.

Substitutes

Duncan watmore

Age: 27
Club: Middlesbrough
Senior England caps: 0

Duncan Watmore was on the verge of leaving the Under-21 roster when Boothroyd took over and made his final appearance just three games later. He finished with 13 appearances, three goals and later became an unusual figure of interest in football media by earning a first-class economics degree and saving three elderly vacationers after barbados boating accident.

However, injury issues hampered his progress and club level and, consequently, his senior career. He is now in the Championship at Middlesbrough after ending a seven-year association with Sunderland.

Tammy Abraham

Age: 23
Club: Chelsea
Senior England caps: 6

Tammy Abraham made her England U21 debut in the 1-0 win over Kazakhstan, the start of what would be a great career for the Young Lions. In 26 appearances, he has scored nine goals and is among England’s top 10 goalscorers in England U21, and made his senior debut in 2017. Six caps followed, with one goal, but Abraham struggled for calls with the talent ahead of him both for England and at club level.

Abraham is Chelsea’s top scorer in all competitions this season despite his disgrace, behind Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Olivier Giroud.