Football

Boothroyd wants more from Young Lions for Slovakia clash

England U-21 manager Aidy Boothroyd insists his charges can improve at Euro 2017.

The Young Lions play Group A leaders Slovakia tonight, knowing a win is vital to keep their qualification hopes alive following a 0-0 draw against Sweden.

Jordan Pickford's penalty save from Linus Wahlqvist nine minutes from time in Poland last Friday earned a crucial point, but Boothroyd knows they can get better.

He said: "I'm not satisfied because I want to win every game. But, when you get to this level, you have to be realistic that you can't win every single game.

"What's important is you keep focused and don't get beaten and make sure you qualify.

"I thought it was a typical opening game. We were a bit nervy, opening the tournament, first game.

"No matter how good a player you are, just to get settled in was important for us.

"It was a fair result in the end and we can certainly play better than we did.

"Sweden gave us problems which we dealt with."

Tammy Abraham twice went close while Ben Chilwell, who conceded the late penalty, hit the bar with a deflected effort in the second half.

Pawel Cibicki hit the woodwork for Sweden who also trail group leaders Slovakia by two points after they beat Poland 2-1 in the late game last Friday.

Boothroyd also responded to Sweden coach Hakan Ericson's claim the Young Lions were too direct.

He added: "When you play against a team who sits as deep as they do, that's where the space on the pitch is.

"He's right, that's what we did to open it up and play through them. What we're good at is getting it off the lines and playing in pockets.

"(Lewis) Baker, (James) Ward-Prowse, (Jacob) Murphy are all very good at that, but we couldn't find the room to do that.

"If you limit yourself to one style, you're going to give yourself a problem at some point." - PA SPORT


YESTERDAY'S GROUP B RESULTS

  • Spain U-21 5 Macedonia U-21 0
  • Portugal U-21 2 Serbia U-21 0
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