By 90Min
June 22, 2019

How does a man that can't buy a job throughout any of England's top four divisions find himself in charge of the greatest generation of youngsters that the country has ever seen?

Adrian Neil Boothroyd or 'Aidy' as he is known and loved, was sacked by Northampton Town in 2013 after taking the club to rock bottom of League Two and this would prove to be the last time that he managed within the English Football League. 

After struggling to find another job following his dismal spell with the Cobblers, the next logical step maybe pointed at a career elsewhere, or maybe a coaching role away from the spotlight of management, but that would make far too much sense wouldn't it?

In 2014, The FA appointed Boothroyd as manager of England Under-20s. Because, obviously.

Ross Kinnaird/GettyImages

During a less than sparkling two-year spell that saw the former Watford boss coach both the England Under-19 and Under-20 sides, he was awarded yet another step up the career ladder to the Under-21 squad following Gareth Southgate's promotion to senior duties. This latest advancement for Boothroyd was the one that simply should just have never been given the thumbs up. 


Granted, he hadn't actually done anything drastically wrong at this point to be criticised (other than boast a below-par CV) but what had he really done right to be awarded such a significant move? It almost screams laziness from the hierarchy. Instead of earning their stripes and finding an ideal replacement, they gave it to the next person they laid their eyes upon, which of course happened to be a widely regarded average to poor manager.

It isn't just the fact that the 48-year-old has a pretty abysmal win percentage anywhere he has been at the helm, but the ex-defender took his no holds barred style of play into management. Aidy was practically one of the OGs when it comes to 'hoof ball', in fact, towards the end of his tenure at Vicarage Road, fans had started calling him "Hoofroyd" due to his lump it in the box and hope for the best tactics. 

Bryn Lennon/GettyImages

The Yorkshire born manager wasn't exactly a beloved figure for his style at Colchester United or Coventry City either, and that's without even bringing up some of the strong worded opinions of the Northampton faithful. 

Professionals also had their grievances towards the original appointment. Former Burnley winger Glen Little let his feelings be known on Twitter following Boothroyd's signing to the international setup in 2014. Despite never playing under him, he had played against sides under his rein throughout his career. "Ha ha ha ha ha ha" he said. "Get the youngsters kicking it as far as they can." 

Staggeringly, despite all the above and The FA previously stating that the future of the Three Lions will be centred around exciting, fast flowing football that would hopefully mirror the success of the phenomenal Spanish team that won three consecutive majors, they appointed a man whose ideology couldn't be any further from that.

There will be people that defend the current boss and that's fair enough, it was, of course, the 48-year-old that only recently took this side to the semi-finals of the European Championship but one would argue that it was harder to not take a side filled with so much quality to that stage.

That, in turn, is the main issue. This young England squad is one of, if not, the greatest youth team to ever come through the national ranks. A side made up of James Maddison, Phil Foden and Aaron Wan-Bissaka just to name a few and yet they are coming off of the back of one of the countries most humiliating defeats, at any level. A 4-2 loss to Romania sees the youngsters staring exit in the face at the European Championship group stages.

It's almost laughable to remember that Boothroyd signed a two-year contract extension prior to this tournament kicking off. Surely the smart move as expressed by many would have been for the FA to bide their time just a few months, see how the squad performed in the latest competition and reward in due course? Well, that sounds far too logical. 

Poor football, baffling decision making and awful substitutions should have all but sealed his fate, not that he should have ever been in the position to have a fate to seal. In a table ranking of disastrous and downright stupid appointments, this is well up there. 

It is 2019 and England's national team have now surpassed half a century since winning their last major honour, 53 years to be precise. An absolutely outstanding squad sits in wait for Gareth Southgate and the senior side, one that is more than capable of ending that drought but they need to be given the freedom to play football, they need someone that allows them to take risks and most importantly, they need a respected, top class manager.


Adrian Boothroyd, you sir, are not it. 


Disclaimer: Nothing against Aidy Boothroyd personally, I'm sure he's a stand-up guy, but please, leave the managing to someone else.

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