September 20, 2021

Boothroyd says England U21s players will never be put at risk

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Aidy Boothroyd has promised England U21s will never risk players’ fitness.

The Young Lions host Andorra at Molineux on Friday as they begin their Euro 2021 countdown.

Players have been put under extra strain this year given the packed schedule, due to the quick turnaround from last season amid the coronavirus crisis and amount of games they are playing per week.

Boothroyd’s side also welcome Albania to Molineux on Tuesday and with qualification for next year’s tournament already secured he insisted the players will not be put in jeopardy.

He said: “Any time you put on the shirt it means an awful lot. In terms of what we need to do, we have to win our games and play in a manner that fits our style. As far as the clubs are concerned, it’s not a case of flogging the players.

“We work closely with the clubs on the loading of the players. We’ve a good idea of when they come to us the game time they’ve had and the training loads they have gone through.

England's Ryan Sessegnon (right) celebrates after Turkey's Huseyin Turkmen (not pictured) scores an own goal during the UEFA Euro 2021 Under-21 Qualifying Group 3 match at Molineux
Image: Ryan Sessegnon (right) will now go into quarantine with the rest of the Hoffenheim squad

“We discuss just how fit the players are and how much we can do. We’re in constant contact with the clubs, like in Ryan’s (Sessegnon) case with Covid-19 we have to adhere to that (the player returning to Hoffenheim after a coronavirus outbreak at the club).

“One of the big plusses of this current England pathway is we have really good relationships with coaches. When it’s a tough situation we work with them and not against them.”

Christian Garcia's last-minute equaliser cancelled out Eddie Nketiah's goal as Andorra U21s earned a historic draw with England U21s
Image: Christian Garcia’s last-minute equaliser earned Andorra U21s a historic draw with England U21s in October

England drew 3-3 in Andorra last month, the first qualifying points they have dropped in over four years, and Boothroyd is eager to ensure it does not happen again in their final two Group Three games.

“We’re expected to win no matter who we play. We accept and rise to that challenge, to try to play a brand of football people want to watch,” he added.

“I want the six points, try one or two tactical adjustments and manage the game time very carefully.

“It feels like we’re in the second part of the season.”