England U21 boss Aidy Boothroyd believes St George’s Park starting to pay off

first_imgEngland Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd believes the Young Lions are reaping the rewards of their St George’s Park blueprint. The 46-year-old has guided England into the semi-finals of Euro 2017 in Poland after a 3-0 win over the hosts on Thursday. It is the first time they have reached the knockout stages at the tournament since 2009 after winning Group A in Kielce. The team’s progress follows the Under-20s’ World Cup win earlier this month while the Under-17s were runners-up at their European Championships in May.And Boothroyd feels England teams are now starting to play with confidence at major tournaments. “I think we are. It is all part of a long-term plan. The building of St George’s Park, the players in terms of personnel in important positions. There has been some investment into it. I think it is starting to bear fruit,” he said.“We have got good players at all age groups and the fact that we are getting this experience at these stages of tournaments is good for English football. It gives us a bit of a boost with the development teams. Gareth’s (Southgate) appointment (as senior manager) has given everyone a lift.”Lewis Baker’s late penalty added to goals from Demarai Gray and Jacob Murphy against Poland, with their opponents finishing the game with 10 men after Jan Bednarek was dismissed for conceding the spot-kick. It came after a 2-1 win over Slovakia and last week’s opening 0-0 draw with Sweden, where Jordan Pickford saved a late penalty.Boothroyd said: “We seem to be growing in confidence, which is good. We don’t want to peak too early. I didn’t plan Sweden 0 England 0 but when you look at it now, it looks like a really good point and a really good save from Jordan.“That is what it is about in tournaments. It’s about getting momentum, keeping confidence and obviously keeping everyone fit. Hopefully we can continue to improve. But it was an outstanding performance.”But the former Watford and Northampton manager faces an anxious wait to discover the extent of injuries to Nathaniel Chalobah and Nathan Redmond after the pair were forced off against Poland. He added: “They both just felt tweaks and it was a decision I had to make, whether I kept them on or change it around. Thankfully the lads who came on did really, really well.” Aidy Boothroyd 1last_img read more