England’s Under-21 side started their latest European Championship campaign with another defeat as Switzerland took a deserved 1-0 win on Thursday.
The Swiss created more chances than England and arguably should have been ahead before Dan Ndoye’s winner 13 minutes from time anyway, as the Young Lions struggled to create any real chances throughout the game.
Manager Aidy Boothroyd came in for plenty of criticism after the U21s extended their record of just two wins in their last eight tournament games. He lined up with a back five, with Burnley’s Dwight McNeil at wing-back and a central midfield pairing of Tom Davies and Oliver Skipp.
It was an overly defensive team, with the likes of Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones and Crystal Palace playmaker Eberechi Eze sitting on the bench and being called upon to try and save the day, rather than being in from the start to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Boothroyd’s position has been called into question once more, following the strange decision after the 2019 tournament to give him a new contract despite the team failing to win a group game. Back then the team was full of incredible talent like Phil Foden, James Maddison, Mason Mount, Dean Henderson and Fikayo Tomori. Yet England conceded nine times in three games to crash out at the first hurdle of a competition they were favourites to win.
The defeat this time around has this new team heading down a similar path seemingly and surely there is no way that Boothroyd will survive again. A new man is needed to take charge of England’s future and it just so happens that someone has recently become available that fits the role perfectly.
Former Manchester United midfielder Nicky Butt has spent the last nine years rebuilding and restructuring the academy and youth set up of the club he came through as a boy.
Butt is credited with the overhaul of the system and the reason the youth setup at the club is still regarded as one of the best in the world. He helped to identify some of the best talents across Europe and was a big part of convincing them to join the club.
It means he has a great eye for talent but also knows what is expected from a player to succeed at a high level. He has overseen plenty of academy players making the transition to first-team player at Old Trafford and that is experience he could use to help players progress into the senior England setup.
Butt left Man Utd this week in search of ‘new challenges’, and this seems like the perfect transition job for him when it inevitably becomes available.
He has minimal coaching experience, but at least he does have some. He was the reserve team manager at Old Trafford on an interim basis during the 2016/17 season after the departure of Warren Joyce, while he also served as assistant to Ryan Giggs during his interim placement as first-team manager after David Moyes was sacked in 2014.
Butt has his coaching badges and is qualified, but a lack of experience could go against him. Despite that, he seems like the near-perfect fit for the role.
If England are serious about the future of their country succeeding today, then why not give the man that was in charge of one of the best academies in the world for a decade his chance in coaching? It can’t be any worse than this Boothroyd tenure.