Former Northampton boss Aidy Boothroyd wants to return to club management after the Football Association announced he was leaving as boss of the England Under-21s.
TEAMtalk revealed last month that the 50-year-old’s time was up with the Young Lions. His future had been in doubt after the Under-21s’ early exit from Euro 2021 and his contract was due to expire in the summer. Boothroyd guided the Young Lions to three European Championships – reaching the semi-finals in 2017 – after succeeding Gareth Southgate in 2016.
The ex-Watford boss now wants to focus on a return to club football, according to PA Sport and Sky Sports.
Boothroyd said: “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. I know they 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.”
Boothroyd – who won the Toulon Tournament in 2018 – stepped up from Under-20s manager to the Under-21s to replace Southgate in 2016. Southgate was appointed interim senior boss after Sam Allardyce’s exit.
He took the job permanently in 2017. He guided the Young Lions to the semi-finals of the European Championships, losing to Germany on penalties in the semi-finals.
Two years later, in Italy and San Marino, England failed to get out of the group . Defeats to France and Romania and a draw with Croatia saw them return home early.
Last month the Young Lions were knocked out in the group stages of Euro 2021 in Hungary and Slovenia.
Defeats to Switzerland and Portugal meant they needed to beat Croatia by two goals to reach the knock-out phase. They were leading 2-0 going into injury time only for Domagoj Bradaric’s last-gasp goal to eliminate them.
Southgate happy for ‘support’
Speaking before the Croatia game, Boothroyd described managing the Under-21s as “the utterly impossible job”. He cited the competing demands of winning games and developing players to step up to the senior team.
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 on the next step of his career.”
The FA will now start the search for Boothroyd’s successor. Jason Euell, Frank Lampard, Justin Cochrane and Paul Simpson linked.
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