Germany will test Aidy Boothroyd’s ability to upset England convention | Barney Ronay


There were raised eyebrows when the sacked Northampton manager was appointed by the Football Association, but some astute tactics and a first Under-21 semi-final since 2009 offer some vindication

There is a good Aidy Boothroyd story in Living On The Volcano, Michael Calvin’s book about the febrile world of Football League management. With half-time approaching Boothroyd takes his Colchester United assistant Joe Dunne to one side. Dunne, Boothroyd explains, should make sure he is not standing near the tactics board during the break. Boothroyd has been thinking about it; he is planning to kick the tactics board across the room as he walks through the door in an explosion of spontaneous rage. He has already put the board in a specific position just for that purpose. “Sure enough he did,” Dunne says. “It helped him get a point across.”

Boothroyd puts great store in moments of catharsis and inspiration. There was another, more vital one of these at half‑time against Slovakia in Kielce last week, with England’s Under-21s smoking and juddering on the launchpad and in danger of failing to get off the ground at all in this Uefa Championship.

Related: Paul Simpson on top of the world and tips England Under-21s for glory

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