Aidy Boothroyd to leave FA after second early England Under-21 finals exit

Aidy Boothroyd is to leave his role with the Football Association when his contract expires this summer after failing to guide England’s Under-21s beyond the group stage of the European championship for a second successive tournament.

England’s early exit from Euro 2021 was confirmed last month when a stoppage-time concession meant they failed to achieve the two-goal victory needed over Croatia. Two year’s earlier Boothroyd’s team went out with one point from three matches.

Boothroyd started working with the FA in 2014 and enjoyed tournament success earlier in his role. He took the Under-21s to within a penalty shootout of the 2017 final and won the 2018 Toulon Tournament.

Before facing Croatia, Boothroyd described the Under-21s job as “utterly impossible”, saying: “The reason I say that is because of the amount of players that have to be produced for the senior team and the fact we are expected to win.”

An FA statement said Boothroyd felt “the time was right to focus on a return to club football”. Boothroyd said: “It has 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 am 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.”

The former Watford and Coventry manager also worked at the FA with younger age-group teams, including the Under-20s, before succeeding Gareth Southgate with the Under-21s in early 2017.

Southgate 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.”