England expects for new boss Aidy Boothroyd
England under-20 boss Aidy Boothroyd now knows being a top coach counts for nothing without the tools to work with on the pitch.
Boothroyd's first game in charge of the age group, since joining as a national coach, comes against Romania at a packed AFC Telford United tonight.
The former Watford, Colchester and Coventry chief is leaving club management behind and returning to his roots of bringing players through, this time at international level.
It was hiis last post at Northampton Town that made him doubly sure it's the right move, having been sacked by the Cobblers six months after taking them to the League Two play-off final.
A second axe, following his dismissal by Coventry, came in difficult circumstances with players coming and going. He knows it won't be any different with the under-20s, though.
But he's been assured players coming through will be of a similar standard to what he will see go on to bigger and better things. That's the Football Association way from now on, Boothroyd insists.
He said: "I learned a lot from stepping up to first-team coaching at Leeds and that set me up for Watford, which went really well.
"Colchester was good, too, and Coventry started off in the same way but didn't finish like that. Northampton was great, at first, we went from the bottom of the league to the play-off final.
"Things changed after that and it didn't work out, but I have no regrets. I took a job in the lower league because I wanted to prove I could coach at all levels.
"I didn't want to sit and home and tell everyone I was only a Championship or Premier League manager. I don't think I will be going back to that, but you never say never.
"I am enjoying my role with the FA, it's international football rather than preparing for a long, hard season. It's a great opportunity.
"I went out to the World Cup in Brazil and watched the best players in the world, studying and learning from them helped me to improve myself.
"I am only 43, I have had some brilliant experiences already and worked at the top end. Having worked at the bottom, I empathise with good coaches and don't have the resources.
"That's probably one of the reasons I got the job, having helped the likes of Ben Foster, Adam Johnson and Gabby Agbonlahor at Watford, who went on to bigger and better things.
"Developing players is a key part of this role and I want to guide the players who haven't yet burst onto the scene. They will get opportunities from me."
Boothroyd demands commitment from the players under his tutelage, evidenced by his decision to omit West Ham midfielder Diego Poyet from his plans for tonight.
He's mulling over to whether to commit his international future to Uruguay where his Dad, Sunderland manager Gustavo Poyet, played for his country.
Boothroyd said: "Diego hasn't decided whether he wants to play for Uruguay or not so, rather than wait for him to make his mind up, we have decided to leave him to it.
"He's a good player and I like him but we have got a lot of other talent in the country that needs to get its opportunity, that's just the way it works.
"We will sit down and have a chat with him and see what he wants to do but, in the meantime, the show must go on."
Manchester United striker James Wilson and Newcastle attacker Adam Campbell have been ruled out through injury tonight, but there's plenty of other talent on show.
Liverpool forward Jordan Ibe has just joined Championship side Derby County on loan. Newcastle attacker Rolando Aarons scored in the Premier League against Crystal Palace last weekend.
Boothroyd said: "They have all got talent but that only gets you through the door, the rest is about attitude and how you apply yourself. The ones that have that tend to do good things.
"Our goal is to get the boys not just European but global experience, so we will be looking to get them games against South American and African sides.
"We also aim to go away and see what it's like to perform in those countries. We need to get used to different styles and shapes and I think that's very important.
"When we hand the players up, we need to make sure they have that schooling. It just shows that there is a pathway and a progression through.
"All of the coaches meet up in the early part of each week, we have a lot going on at the FA in terms of how we are moving forward.
"There's a lot of dedicated people that work for the organisation and I am privileged and proud to be a part of that."
Boothroyd is of a new spate of "forward thinking" football folk to join the FA in the last year, Wolverhampton-born Sean O'Driscoll appointed coach of the under-19 side this week.
Director of elite development Dan Ashworth came on board last September, having worked with national boss Roy Hodgson at West Brom as they established the club in the Premier League.
It was actually Boothroyd who gave Ashworth his chance with the Baggies, first coming to the Hawthorns to assist him with the youth-team in March 2004.
Boothroyd said: "I have got a lot of time or Sean, he's a great addition and we are getting a really nice blend of forward thinking people. He will be an asset, I am sure.
"I was with Albion at the very start when they were changing over from a Centre of Excellence into an academy and my job was to go in and get that going.
"I have a lot of fond memories from my time there, not least working with Dan. I first worked with him at Peterborough many years ago, then he went to Cambridge when I got the job at Albion.
"I wanted someone with me who was very organised, so he ended up following me there. He has always had fantastic ambition and he will go on to do some great things.
"For me to go to Leeds back then and for him to make such an impression at Albion shows we both did the right thing at the right time."
By Craig Birch
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