Aidy Boothroyd speaks out on his future after England U21s crash out of European Championships

There were ugly scenes at the final whistle as Croatia beat England to a quarter-final place (Picture: Getty)

Aidy Boothroyd insisted he was still the right man to lead the England Under-21s despite his side crashing out of the European Championships in dramatic fashion at the hands of Croatia.

An early spot-kick from Eberechi Eze and Curtis Jones’ second-half strike would have been enough to secure the Young Lions’ progression from Group D, with Boothroyd’s men needing to win by two clear goals.

But Domagoj Bradaric beat Aaron Ramsdale with a stunning effort to reduce the deficit and make it 2-1 in stoppage time and Croatia held firm to book their place in the quarter-finals.

It brought an end to a miserable campaign from England’s perspective – following a pair of earlier defeats to Portugal and Switzerland – and a frustrated Jones was sent off as he reacted to Croatia’s wild celebrations in ugly scenes after the full-time whistle.

Bradaric scored a crucial goal for Croatia at the death (Picture: Getty)

‘I thought tonight we were excellent. I’ve been criticised for not being creative but I thought tonight we were very creative in everything we did,’ England head coach Boothroyd told Sky Sports after the match.

‘We hit the crossbar twice, we missed chances we’d normally take and we scored two goals.

‘To lose in the manner that we did after swimming the Channel, getting into a position where we were okay in the final minute of the game… he’ll never score a goal like that again so that is very, very disappointing.

‘We gave ourselves a mountain to climb and we almost did it but unfortunately we lose out by one goal. They’re the fine margin, they’re the things they have to learn.

‘It’s devastating right now but an experience like this stays with you forever and it will benefit them in their careers which is what the Under-21s is all about. It’s a development team.’

Boothroyd hopes to continue leading the U21 side (Picture: Getty)

It’s understood England are drawing up a shortlist of managerial targets – with Boothroyd out of contract in the summer – but the 50-year-old said he would ‘keep going’ until he’s told otherwise.

Asked whether he’s still the right person to be in charge of the side, he replied: ‘I think so. The amount of players that have come through would suggest there’s a pathway working.

‘Our youngest players that come in the building know they’ve got a chance to play because of the way we’re structured.

‘I love being involved with these players, I really enjoy it which makes it even more difficult to come out and speak to you in the media and answer that question.

I’’m going to keep going and then we’ll see what happens.’



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