idy Boothroyd insists his England Under-21s side are still “on track” despite losing the opening game of their European Championship campaign, and says they are going to come out on the front foot against Portugal on Sunday.
Portugal beat Croatia, who England face on Wednesday, in their opening game and sit top of Group D, from which the top two will qualify for the knockout stages.
Boothroyd says the plan was always to aim for six points, meaning England are still on track regardless of their awful showing on Thursday.
“We came here with a gameplan to win two out of three, ideally three, but that hasn’t happened,” said Boothroyd. “We’re still on track, we’ve got to make sure we pull ourselves together and get cracking for the next game.
“It is important not to sulk and dwell on things but I think it is really important to get learnings out of the situation.
“It was a game that was disappointing for a number of reasons. We’re a team that prides ourselves on creative football and the amount of goals that we’re expected to score.
“Breaking the record for scoring in qualifying, we’re very proud of that, and then we come to the big stuff and we were a blunt instrument, which is not like us. We’re under no illusion that if we’re going to win games, we’re going to need to score, and that is what we’re going to do.”
Boothroyd promised a more attacking formation against a Portugal side packed with talent and will mix things up on Sunday. Former Tottenham academy youngster Noni Madueke, who left the club at 16 to join PSV Eindhoven and has broken through in the Eredivisie, will make his England U21s debut in a bid to create more chances.
“I’m really excited to get my first game at this level,” said Madueke. “Obviously I had to watch the last game from minute zero to 90, but I am really happy that tomorrow I’ll be getting on the pitch and hopefully we can win and I can show what I can do.”