“I was thinking, will there ever be a boy born who can swim faster then a shark?”
Hold the front page: Adrian Neil Boothroyd, a manager once sacked by Northampton Town when in the basement of League Two, and a man fond of wearing a yellow tie in his time as Watford’s gaffer, has basically admitted he’s not up to the task of leading England’s Under-21 team.
England’s assistant to the regional manager said:
I know the senior men’s job has been called the impossible job but the U21s is the utterly impossible job. The reason is the amount of players who have to be produced for the senior team and we are expected to win.
There’s a reason why we haven’t won this for 37 years and why we haven’t progressed as much as we thought we would, because our primary aim is to get players through to Gareth [Southgate].
Could you imagine a reserve-team manager knocking on the door of a senior manager at a club and saying ‘listen boss, I think today you should let me have the best player to win the reserve championship’. That just wouldn’t happen.
The only team that needs to win is the senior team. Everywhere else, winning is part of it, drawing is part of it and having adversity is part of it.
The reason I say that it is the utterly impossible job is because new players come in, younger players come in and the wheel starts again.
I get that Boothroyd is in charge of a sort of halfway house, where his very best players will almost always be fast-tracked to the senior set-up, but it’s his job to manage the resources he has. A regular turnover of new players should be seen as a positive, not a hindrance.
The fact is, Boothroyd is not a good enough manager for the role. We’ve seen as much with the England U21s losing both their group matches so far in the Euros, and on the brink of an early exit.
Muddled team selection, using tactics and a formation that mirrors the senior team (it makes little sense to do this), players who look disinterested… It’s not good enough, not when Boothroyd can still call on the likes of Curtis Jones, Ebere Eze, Emile Smith Rowe and Callum Hudson-Odoi, to name just four of his talented squad.
Also, just look at what Boothroyd said when asked about the security of his position:
It’s a really good job working for really good people and with really good people, so obviously the runners and the riders are going to get going in this situation but as far as I’m concerned there is nothing to get upset about.
I’m currently in the chair and have enjoyed being in the chair and want to carry on and do what I think has been a successful job. That’s it really. I don’t get distracted too much, it’s more to focus on the team and the staff.
I mean, that barely makes sense. It’s middle-management, junior cabinet minister waffle from a guy who has failed upwards thanks to the support of the FA.