Bristol City assistant head coach Paul Simpson is said to be in the running to take over as the new England U21 boss, according to a report by the Daily Mail.
Current England U21 boss Aidy Boothroyd has come under increasing pressure for his job after his side’s back-to-back defeats in the U21 European Championships.
England were defeated 1-0 late on by Switzerland in their opening game before losing convincingly against a strong Portugal side on Sunday.
The former Watford manager has overseen the England set-up since 2016 but has failed to provide results at major championships. Many were sceptical about Boothroyd holding on to his job after the last poor showing from England in a European Championship.
A side that included the likes of Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Dominic Calvert-Lewin crashed out of the group stage in 2019 without winning a single game.
Boothroyd has an equally talented squad to choose from this time around as well with Liverpool ace Curtis Jones just one of the star names in the squad. However, with back-to-back poor showings, pressure is mounting on Boothroyd who is out of contract this summer.
Alongside Simpson in the shortlist for the job is former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, Swansea’s Steve Cooper and QPR’s Mark Warburton.
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City assistant Simpson has vast experience in coaching having spent time with Preston, Shrewsbury and now Bristol City. He also has international coaching experience to his bow with England’s U20 side.
Simpson took charge of the U20’s in 2017 and guided the side to winning the U20 World Cup in South Korea beating Venezuela in the final. He then spent three more years with the side before taking on a new challenge and moving to his current role as assistant coach at Bristol City.
It’s clear that England desperately need a change of direction in the U21 set-up. Boothroyd has been given his fair share of time to prove he has what it takes but when push comes to shove in the European Championships, he falls short.
The potential appointment of Simpson may not be as striking as that of Lampard, but he has experience in turning a talented young England side into major tournament winners.
His proven record at the younger age group should be a big tick in the box for requirements to take over from Boothroyd. Whether he wants to step back into international coaching again remains to be seen, however.