The Football Association are pondering making a change which will see a new man take over as England Under-21 coach.
The Daily Telegraph report that Justin Cochrane has “emerged as a strong candidate” should Aidy Boothroyd’s contract not be extended. The former Northampton boss has overseen two defeats at the European Under-21 Championships which has left the young Three Lions on the verge of an exit. They must defeat Croatia by two goals on Wednesday and hope Portugal beat Switzerland to qualify.
England’s young guns have disappointed for a second straight tournament under Boothroyd’s reign. The 50-year-old’s contract expires this summer and the FA are “considering whether it is time to make a change”.
The report claims another early exit would mean that “pressure on Boothroyd to go would be overwhelming”.
England have registered just one shot on target, via a free-kick, in their two group games – defeats to Switzerland and Portugal. They have been unable to impose themselves on their opponents. And their two games to date have not seen Boothroyd’s men adopt an easily identifiable style of play.
Former England international Michael Dawson has criticised England’s performances and said they have simply “not been good enough”.
If Bradford-born Boothroyd is allowed to leave then the FA’s new technical director John McDermott will be in charge of finding a replacement.
One man who is “likely to feature prominently” is Cochrane, 39, who worked with him at Tottenham.
‘Top coach’ Cochrane
The current England’s U17 coach has worked his way through the England youth ranks. He has been described as a “top coach” by Gareth Southgate.
“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,” Southgate said.
“We also shouldn’t look just at the ex-players or high-profile players because as we know, so many of the top managers haven’t been top top international players. That route must also be open to black coaches that haven’t played at the highest level.”
The England boss is likely to have a say on who may succeed Boothroyd. And Cochrane seems certain to be interviewed if the post becomes vacant.