Five candidates to replace Boothroyd as England U21s manager

Ian Watson
England Under-21s manager Lampard Howe Tisdale

Lampard, Howe and Tisdale are all said to be in the running but the favourite to replace Aidy Boothroyd is an unfamiliar name…


The FA have finally dispensed with Boothroyd’s services as England Under-21s manager. It seems literally anyone could have got more out of the current squad, but here are some of the favourites to take over…

Justin Cochrane
Cochrane is the bookies’ favourite to replace Boothroyd and the 39-year-old certainly boasts an impressive coaching CV.

He is the current England Under-17s coach having worked first for the FA with the Under-15s, then Under-16s. Prior to joining the England youth set-up Cochrane was a coach at Tottenham, where he worked for nine years at a variety of age groups between Under-12s to Under-23s.

Cochrane, who lists the UEFA Pro Licence and a degree in leadership and management among his qualifications, spoke about his philosophy when he wrote for the FA’s website upon his appointment as Under-15s coach in 2018:

“I’d like to play an attacking style of football and give the players freedom to make their own decisions. As a coach, you have to be flexible and adapt to the type of players that you work with.”

As a player, Cochrane had spells with QPR, Crewe, Gillingham, Rotherham, Yeovil, Millwall, Rushden & Diamonds, Aldershot Town, Hayes & Yeading and Boreham Wood, though he began coaching aged 17.

Appointing Cochrane would seem to go down well with Gareth Southgate: “We have some very good young black coaches coming through our development teams. Justine Cochrane is somebody who I think, within our group of national coaches, he is going to be a top coach.”

Prick of the Week No. 28: Aidy Boothroyd and the ‘impossible job’


Frank Lampard
Should the FA decide they prefer a name with a loftier profile than Cochrane, then Lampard might fit.

The former Chelsea boss is available after being replaced by Thomas Tuchel earlier this year. He has managed Chelsea and Derby and holds the UEFA Pro Licence. The achievements of his playing career should also earn him instant respect from any crop of Under-21s.

That is one of the factors behind Jamie Carragher’s endorsement of Lampard for the job. “You actually look at the job of the under-21s, I almost think it would be perfect for someone like Frank Lampard,” he told The Sportsman. “I think he has just had a newborn baby as well and it may be the perfect job for him I think.

“Everyone in the squad would look up to him, they’d be in awe of him. He has still got that youthfulness in that he hasn’t retired too long ago, he’d have that connection with young players. I think if you were a young player you would be absolutely over the moon if Frank Lampard was the manager.”


Eddie Howe
The former Bournemouth manager is the third-favourite for the gig and this position may appeal more than some of the club vacancies he has been linked with since leaving the Vitality Stadium last summer after eight years in charge.

Howe seems to be keeping Celtic dangling at the moment. He reportedly turned down Sheffield United and another Premier League club in recent months and has been in talks with the Hoops for weeks.

But those discussions are said to have slowed amid speculation over a new director of football at Celtic Park while Howe seeks advice from Brendan Rodgers about taking over.

Howe could be tempted into the Under-21s role if he sees a clear pathway to the England senior job.


Paul Tisdale
The 48-year-old was mentioned by the Daily Mail as a leading candidate alongside Lampard and Cochrane and he will be available come the end of the season once his spell as an advisor to Colchester’s interim manager Hayden Mullins is complete.

Tisdale was reportedly interviewed for the Under-21s post when it was available in 2013 and he has worked closely with new FA technical director John McDermott while managing Exeter, who took a number of Spurs players on loan.

Tisdale spent 12 years at Exeter before spells in charge at MK Dons and, most recently, Bristol Rovers, where he lasted less than three months before departing over disagreements about transfers and the make up of a squad which sat outside the League One relegation zone on goal-difference.

Joe Cole


Joe Cole
The former England midfielder was reported by The Sun to be ‘a surprise contender’ for the job. Which is perhaps an understatement.

Cole obtained his UEFA A Licence a year ago but that seems to be it for his credentials. Oh no, wait. ‘He is passionate about making a move into management… he is also passionate about our national team,” says The Sun. Ah, in that case…

Since hanging up his boots, Cole had been working as a coach within the Chelsea academy. He left before the first lockdown last year. “It was really important in my development but I was planning on doing study visits around the world with different managers and study visits within the FA,” he told The Guardian. “That all got put to bed because of Covid but I’ll pick that up when I can and it’s back to normal.”

Maybe one day, but the current vacancy surely comes too soon for Cole.


And the rest…
Recently-axed Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder is rated as fourth-favourite with the bookies, just ahead of Phil Neville, who left the England Women’s job for a cushy gig with Inter Miami. Gary Neville is also a shorter price than England Under-19s coach Ian Foster, Aston Villa assistant John Terry – who has a fractious history with the FA – and Danny Cowley, who has a contract at Portsmouth until the end of the season. Then come former Man Utd midfielders Michael Carrick, who is currently one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s assistants, and Nicky Butt following his departure from Old Trafford last month.