Toulon success can give England U21s belief – Boothroyd


Nketiah made his Arsenal debut against BATE Borisov in the Europa League
Toulon Tournament final – Mexico v England
Date: 9 June (17:30 BST) Venue: Martigues, France
Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website from 17:00 BST

England Under-21s’ success at the Toulon Tournament can help the players break through in the Premier League, says manager Aidy Boothroyd.

The Young Lions – who beat Scotland 3-1 in the semi-finals – face Mexico in Saturday’s final (17:30 BST), aiming for a third straight title.

Five of those involved against Scotland already had top-flight experience.

“If they can do it at world level they can do it in the Premier League,” said Boothroyd. “I have no doubt.”

Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah scored twice against Scotland, and could now force his way into Boothroyd’s plans for Euro 2019, for which the team are on course to qualify.

The 19-year-old – who made three Premier League appearances this season – also has new Gunners boss Unai Emery to impress.

And Boothroyd feels Nketiah and his team-mates can use the Toulon Tournament to further their Premier League ambitions.

“We have some very talented players and they can play in the Premier League,” he said. “They just need a little belief and opportunity from some of the head coaches.

“Whenever a young player has an opportunity they have to take it, and Eddie’s certainly done it with his goals. We’re always hoping when they leave us they can get into the position where they can become regulars for their clubs.

“He should be with the Under-19s but he’s given me a problem for when I have to pick a squad in September.”

England drew 0-0 with Mexico in Group A last week, and the Mexicans topped the table by one goal.

They beat Turkey 3-1 on Wednesday, with Eduardo Aguirre scoring a hat-trick. He has scored seven times in the tournament, more than 10% of the total goals.

England are the only team to stop the 19-year-old from scoring, and Boothroyd expects a tight match.

“It’s a really tough tournament to come to, let alone get to the latter stages and the final,” he added.

“The fact we’ve done it with two different managers, two different teams and now we’re trying to make it a hat-trick puts a little pressure on us.

“If we’re going to be successful these are the things we have to deal with. It’s two really evenly matched teams, there’s not an awful lot between us.”

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