Boothroyd admits Portugal test is his biggest match as U21 boss

News Desk
England U21 Aidy Boothroyd F365

England U21 boss Aidy Boothroyd has admitted that their match against Portugal is his biggest test yet as a manager.

The Young Lions play on Sunday in the second game of their U21 European Championship group stage.

It’s a must-win for Boothroyd’s team following their 1-0 loss at the hands of Switzerland on Thursday.

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Speaking ahead of the clash, Boothroyd told reporters: “Without a doubt, the next game is always the most important one but when you are in a tournament it ramps it right up.

“This situation is part of the development and growth of our players. The opportunity is there, the players know, the staff know, I know the importance of it.

“I feel very fortunate to represent my country and work with the best players in Europe and in the world. They are young boys and still learning.

“Is it an important game for me? It’s an important game for England Under-21s, we are still in there fighting and we won’t go down without a fight.”

The team are in Group D and have to pick up three points to keep their tournament hopes alive.

Despite naming a strong squad with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Emile Smith Rowe starting, England failed to score in their opening fixture.

Nice forward Dan Ndoye got the only goal of the game to give Switzerland a surprise win.

The result led to plenty of criticism for Boothroyd. His squad is seen as one of the strongest in the world with a host of Premier League talent.

The manager will switch things up for their clash against Portugal. PSV attacker Noni Madueke will make his debut.

Boothroyd continued: “We are a team who like to pride ourselves on creative football and goals we’re expected to score.

“We were a blunt instrument which was not like us. We’ve talked about that, there was quite a bit of reflection. We have had a blip in the road but if it was easy it wouldn’t be worth doing.

“The players have been reminded about the importance of how we play the game. We were a bit irritated with what we got against Switzerland.

“We came here to win two games out of three, ideally three, but we’re still on track. We have to pull ourselves together and get cracking for the next game. There’s no time for being moody.”