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Surprise new favourite confirmed as England U21s axe manager

A surprise new favourite has been confirmed as England U21s axe manager Aidy Boothroyd two weeks after his side’s Euros group stage exit.

The former experienced Football League boss, whose contract expires in the summer, moves on from the Young Lions after seven years with the Football Association.

Boothroyd’s England finished at the bottom of their group at the U21s Euros last month, losing to Portugal and Switzerland before winning against Croatia in their final match.

It was the fifth time in six competitions that England have gone out at the group stage. There was some success for Boothroyd, guiding his side to victory in the prestigious Toulon Tournament in 2018, but previously said the way the England international set-up is structured limits the chances of the under-21s winning tournaments.

Boothroyd said on leaving: “It’s been the greatest privilege to represent the FA and lead England teams into high-profile tournaments. While we didn’t finish in the way we wanted, I’m very proud to have been able to work so closely with players who I know will go on to have remarkable international careers and to have experienced some very special moments with them over the years.

“I’d like to thank my staff and all of the incredible support team that have done so much to help us remain competitive against other elite nations. In every single get-together they embraced our unique challenge of rightly prioritising the needs of the senior team while ensuring we gave our all to try and get a positive performance and result.”

Gareth Southgate, manager of England’s senior men’s team, said: “I’d like to thank Aidy for his wholehearted support and dedication to developing English players and coaches across the last seven years.

“His pride in working with all of our development teams has shone through and his support of the senior team has been greatly appreciated. I wish him every success on the next step of his career.”

John McDermott, our technical director, added: “Aidy has been a great servant for our England teams and is widely respected across the game for the work he has done towards our overall aim of winning a major tournament. His passion and professionalism for the job has always shone through and I know how much he has given to every team he has worked with.

“Of course, our final result did not end in the way we had all hoped but his legacy will be that he gave everything for the squad to be successful and his commitment to developing young players is unquestioned. I fully respect and understand Aidy’s decision to want to return to club football and I’m sure he will continue to be a regular visitor to St. George’s Park. I know I speak on behalf of all my colleagues who wish him all the very best with his next role.”

The FA say they will now begin a formal open process to recruit Boothroyd’s successor, with the qualification programme for the 2023 UEFA U21 EURO – to be played in Georgia and Romania – not set to begin until September this year.

So who is this new favourite then?

Justin Cochrane

Cochrane is a highly-rated coach and is well-known to the FA’s new technical director John McDermott, the man behind the decision whether to sack Boothroyd or not – having previously worked with him at Premier League outfit Tottenham where he was an assistant head of development (11-16) and went on to coach at Under-23 level at the Premier League club.

The 39-year-old is a former Antigua and Barbuda international who previously played for the likes of Hayes & Yeading, Crewe, Aldershot, Yeovil, Rushden, Gillingham and Rotherham.

He was appointed England Under-15s coach and then moved through the age groups to take charge of the Under-16s and then Under-17s, his current role.

The former midfielder has built a strong reputation within the Football Association through his coaching ability and is likely to be shortlisted as a replacement for Boothroyd.

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What’s his philosophy?

“As a coach, I’m very passionate and enthusiastic and I like to build good relationships with the players so that they want to listen, learn and understand,” Cochrane told the FA.

“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.”

Gareth Southgate’s a fan of Cochrane’s, saying: “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.”


Justin Cochrane – 4/6
Frank Lampard – 4/1
Eddie Howe – 10/1
Chris Wilder – 12/1
Nicky Butt – 10/1
Ian Foster – 16/1
Kevin Betsy – 16/1

With the surprise new favourite confirmed as England U21s axe their manager, who do you want to see appointed? Let us know on our socials!

Fans reacted as a surprise new favourite is confirmed with England U21s choosing to axe their manager…

@MaxGarfield2003: This time appoint a *progressive* manager who you can promote to the senior role if they prove themselves. Eddie Howe or even Frank Lampard would be well respected by the players

@PallettJack: Well overdue, best of luck in the future Aidy. Think the next manager should be someone who could progress in to the full job, be interested to see a Howe or Lampard take it on.

@JLadlow8: Good news, he was out of his depth!! To only win 1 of the last 6 under 21 euro games over the past 2 tournaments with the talent we had is abysmal!!

@Happy_Horn: Aidy is a great for 18 months tops, he is a very good motivater and has player believing in themselves but after the initial 18 month he seems to run out of ideas.

@mcfcsamm: 2 years too late but thank you

@David__Fraser: How’s he managed 7 years 😂

@OlesRed: A waste of 7 years for an incredible generation coming through, well done to everyone involved!

@TheHawk_104: Make sure the next coach is qualified for the job and doesn’t get it purely because he’s mates with people at the FA.

@Ben_Oldroyd: Can’t believe he’s lasted so long.

@xCammy17x: Best set of youngsters in world football rn and didn’t even get out of the groups good riddance

@SandyHollasAFC: About time

@chattaway_harry: 7 years too late

@jackhud98: Excellent news

@spursdab: Eddie Howe would be a good choice for this

@Daryl_6: Thank fuck for that

@Finlay_Rufc5: Should have never been appointed

@caIIumlufc: hahahah finally

@PompeyDave93: The fact that he’s lasted 7 years is an absolute disgrace

@MattJn: Hallelujah!!!

@davidy1982: Long overdue

@LifeIsPeachy82: What a shocking manager.

@J66ACD: To be fair we have done him no favours by stripping him of all of the decent under 21’s.

@1AndrewMitchell: Its a fair point. I look at that tournament squad and I don’t see the ‘quality’ that everyone talks of. There’s a lot of potential but anything quality has been taken by the seniors. Other nations’ let young players float – no fear of burn out.

@olicoulsxn: 7 years that should never happened. Good riddance.

@FootballFilesPL: Either Frank Lampard or Eddie Howe would be the perfect replacement, we need someone in this role that can transition into the senior squad when the time comes!

@CraigCharles23: It’s about god damn time.

@mdh2007: Now get someone in who will tap into the attacking talent we have..

@VicksLFC1892: one of the worse managers in football.

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