England's national Under-21 football team , also known as England Under-21s or England U21(s) , is considered to be the feeder team for the England national football team.

This team is for English players aged under 21 at the start of the calendar year in which a two-year European Under-21 Football Championship campaign begins, so some players can remain with the squad until the age of 23. As long as they are eligible, players can play for England at any level, making it possible to play for the U21s, senior side, and again for the U21s, as Jack Butland, Harry Kane, Calum Chambers and John Stones have done. It is also possible to play for one country at youth level and another at senior level (providing the player is eligible).

The U-21 team came into existence, following the realignment of UEFA's youth competitions, in 1976. A goalless draw in a friendly against Wales at Wolves' Molineux Stadium was England U21s' first result.

England U21s do not have a permanent home. They play in stadia dotted all around England, in an attempt to encourage younger fans in all areas of the country to get behind England. Because of the lower demand compared to the senior national team, smaller grounds can be used. The record attendance for an England U21 match was set on 24 March 2007, when England U21 played Italy U21 in front of a crowd of just under 60,000 at the new Wembley Stadium, also a world record attendance for a U21 game. [3] The match was one of the required two events the stadium hosted in order to gain its safety certificate in time for its full-capacity opening for the 2007 FA Cup Final in May. [27]

Coaching staff

Head coach

Tenure Head Coach/Manager
1977–1990 Dave Sexton
1990–1993 Lawrie McMenemy
1994–1996 Dave Sexton
1996–1999 Peter Taylor
1999 Peter Reid
1999–2001 Howard Wilkinson
2001–2004 David Platt
2004–2007 Peter Taylor
2007–2013 Stuart Pearce
2013–2016 Gareth Southgate
2016– [30] Aidy Boothroyd

The original and most successful coach is Dave Sexton, who led the U21s from 1977 to 1990. In this period he combined his duties with managing the top-flight clubs Manchester United (1977–1981) and Coventry City (1981–1983). After Coventry he took a position within the FA as their first Technical Director, at Lilleshall. He handed over U21 responsibilities to England manager Graham Taylor's assistant Lawrie McMenemy for three years before resuming control from 1994 to 1996.

Peter Taylor took over in 1996 and, although never winning a tournament, his teams had an excellent record. He was controversially removed from the position in early 1999, however, and replaced initially by Peter Reid, who resigned after just one match in charge to dedicate more time to his other job as manager of Sunderland. Howard Wilkinson took over afterwards, yet could only produce four wins in ten competitive matches and quit after a year and a half in charge. David Platt took charge leaving his job at Nottingham Forest. Platt was U21 boss from 2001 to 2004, but had little success before Taylor's return. Taylor left in January 2007, as the senior national manager Steve McClaren wanted the U21s to have a full-time manager. Taylor, at the time, was combining his duties with his role as Crystal Palace boss.

On 1 February 2007, Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce was appointed as head coach on a part-time basis until after the European Championships in the summer of 2007. Nigel Pearson, Newcastle United's assistant manager, agreed to become Pearce's assistant. Their first match in charge was a 2–2 draw against Spain on 6 February 2007 at Derby County's Pride Park Stadium. For the match against Italy Nigel Pearson took charge as Stuart Pearce had club commitments. Steve Wigley assisted Pearson.

Pearce was dismissed as Manchester City manager on 14 May 2007, before the 2007 European Championships, but on 19 July 2007 he was named full-time U21s coach. [6] He remained in the post until June 2013, when it was announced that his contract would not be renewed. [7] On 31 July, the FA announced that England senior manager Roy Hodgson would take charge of an England U21 friendly match against Scotland at Bramall Lane, [8] the match ended in a 6–0 win for Hodgson's side. [9] Former England international Gareth Southgate was made manager of the under-21 team on 22 August. [23]

In September 2016, Southgate was appointed to the temporary position of caretaker manager of the England senior side after the departure of Sam Allardyce. With Southgate overseeing the main team for four games, Aidy Boothroyd, the England under-20 manager, was appointed caretaker manager of the under-21s until Southgate's return. [30] In February 2017, Boothroyd was confirmed as the permanent manager. [3]

U21 Coaching staff

Position Staff
Manager Aidy Boothroyd
Assistant Manager Colin Cooper
Goalkeeping Coach Timothy Dittmer

Source:

Competitive Record

As a European U21 team, England compete for the European Championship, with the finals every odd-numbered year, formerly even-numbered years. There is no Under-21 World Cup, although there is an Under-20 World Cup. For the first six (1978–1988) European Under-21 Football Championships, England did well, getting knocked out in the semi-finals on four occasions and winning the competition in 1982 and 1984. Then, as one might expect with a rapid turnover of players, followed a lean period.

After losing to France in the 1988 semi final, England then failed to qualify for the last eight for five whole campaigns. In the qualifying stages for the 1998 tournament, England won their group, but fate was not on their side. Because there were nine groups, and only eight places, the two group-winning nations with worst records had to play-off to eliminate one of them. England lost the away leg of this extra qualifying round and were eliminated on away goals to Greece. In effect, England finished ninth in the competition despite losing only one of their ten matches.

England qualified for the 2000 finals comfortably. Under the 1996-appointed Peter Taylor England won every match without conceding a goal. But with 3 matches to play, Taylor was replaced in a controversial manner by Howard Wilkinson, who won the next two matches. The three goals conceded in the 3–1 defeat to group runners-up Poland were the only blemish on the team's qualifying record. England got knocked out in the group stage of the European Championship finals in 2000 under Wilkinson.

After enlisting former international star David Platt as manager, England qualified for the 2002 tournament in Switzerland. Again England did poorly in the group stage. Platt's England failed to qualify for the 2004 tournament and he was replaced by the returning Peter Taylor. Taylor's England qualified from the group but lost to a strong France team in a two-legged playoff and failed to qualify for the 2006 tournament.

The next campaign started shortly after the 2006 finals – the qualification stage of the 2007 competition. UEFA decided to shift the tournament forward to avoid a clash with senior tournaments taking place in even-numbered years. The qualification stage was heavily reduced, being completed in a year's less time. In a 3-team qualification group, England qualified over Switzerland and Moldova, and then won a two-legged play-off with Germany to qualify for the finals to be held in the Netherlands. At the tournament, England progressed through to the semi-finals where they led for the majority of the match against the hosts. However, after a late equaliser and a marathon penalty shootout, England were eliminated.

In 2009, England finished as runners-up, losing 4–0 to Germany in the final.

England finished second in their qualifying group for the 2011 championships in Denmark. They subsequently defeated Romania in the play-offs to qualify for the finals tournament, where they were knocked out in the group stage after a 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic. England also subsequently exited the 2013 and 2015 Finals tournaments at the group stage.

UEFA European Under-21 Championship record UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification record Manager(s)
Year Round Position Pld W D * L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
1978 Semi-Finals 4th of 8 4 1 2 1 4 4 4 4 0 0 17 2 Sexton
1980 Semi-Finals 3rd of 8 4 1 1 2 4 4 4 4 0 0 11 2 Sexton
1982 Champions 1st of 8 6 3 2 1 11 8 6 4 1 1 12 5 Sexton
1984 Champions 1st of 8 6 5 0 1 13 3 6 5 0 1 13 4 Sexton
1986 Semi-Finals 4th of 8 4 1 2 1 3 4 6 3 2 1 9 3 Sexton
1988 Semi-Finals 3rd of 8 4 2 1 1 6 6 4 1 3 0 7 3 Sexton
1990 Did not qualify 6 4 1 1 10 5 Sexton
1992 Did not qualify 6 3 1 2 11 5 McMenemy
1994 Did not qualify 10 4 3 3 20 8 McMenemy
1996 Did not qualify 8 6 1 1 13 4 Sexton
1998 Did not qualify 10 6 3 1 11 5 Taylor
2000 Group Stage 5th of 8 3 1 0 2 6 4 9 8 0 1 26 3 Taylor, Reid, Wilkinson [3]
2002 Group Stage 7th of 8 3 1 0 2 4 6 8 5 2 1 18 8 Wilkinson Platt [3]
2004 Did not qualify 8 3 2 3 14 10 Platt
2006 Did not qualify 12 6 4 2 23 10 Taylor
2007 Semi-Finals 3rd of 8 4 1 3 0 5 3 4 3 1 0 8 4 Taylor, Pearce [3]
2009 Runners-Up 2nd of 8 5 2 3 0 8 9 10 8 2 0 22 5 Pearce
2011 Group Stage 7th of 8 3 0 2 1 2 3 10 6 3 1 17 8 Pearce
2013 Group Stage 7th of 8 3 0 0 3 1 5 10 9 0 1 26 3 Pearce
2015 Group Stage 7th of 8 3 1 0 2 2 4 12 11 1 0 35 4 Southgate
2017 Semi-Finals 3rd of 12 4 2 2 0 7 3 8 6 2 0 20 3 Southgate, Boothroyd [3]
Total 2 titles 14/21 53 19 17 17 71 65 161 109 32 20 343 103

Note: The year of the tournament represents the year in which it ends.

*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

Results and fixtures

2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship

Qualification

Group stage
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1 5 4 1 0 10 2 +8 13 Final tournament 6 Sep 27 Mar 3–1 3–0 11 Oct
2 Netherlands 5 2 2 1 13 4 +9 8 Play-offs if among four best runners-up 1–1 16 Oct 11 Sep 3–0 8–0
3 Ukraine 5 2 2 1 10 4 +6 8 0–2 1–1 12 Oct 7 Sep 11 Sep
4 Scotland 5 2 1 2 6 6 0 7 16 Oct 2–0 0–2 1–1 6 Sep
5 Latvia 6 0 3 3 2 10 −8 3 11 Sep 12 Oct 1–1 0–2 0–0
6 Andorra 4 0 1 3 0 15 −15 1 0–1 27 Mar 0–6 23 Mar 16 Oct
Updated to match(es) played on 14 November 2017. Source:

Records

Leading appearances

Rank Player Club(s) U-21 Caps
1 James Milner Leeds United, Newcastle United, Aston Villa 46
2 Nathaniel Chalobah Chelsea, Watford 40
3 Nathan Redmond Birmingham City, Norwich City, Southampton 38
4 Tom Huddlestone Derby County, Tottenham Hotspur 33
Fabrice Muamba Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers 33
6 James Ward-Prowse Southampton 31
7 Michael Mancienne Chelsea, Hamburg 30
8 Scott Carson Leeds United, Liverpool 29
Steven Taylor Newcastle United 29
Danny Rose Tottenham Hotspur 29
11 Jack Butland Birmingham City, Stoke City 28

Note: Club(s) represents the permanent clubs during the player's time in the Under-21s. Those players in bold are still eligible to play for the team.

Leading goalscorers

Rank Player Club(s) U-21 Goals
1 Alan Shearer Southampton 13
Francis Jeffers Everton, Arsenal 13
3 Saido Berahino West Bromwich Albion 11
4 Nathan Redmond Birmingham City, Norwich City, Southampton 10
5 Darren Bent Ipswich Town, Charlton Athletic 9
Frank Lampard West Ham United 9
James Milner Leeds United, Newcastle United, Aston Villa 9
8 Harry Kane Tottenham Hotspur 8
Mark Hateley Coventry City, Portsmouth 8
Lewis Baker Chelsea, Vitesse 8
Carl Cort Wimbledon 8
12 Mark Robins Manchester United 7
Shola Ameobi Newcastle United 7
Jermain Defoe West Ham United 7
Ruben Loftus-Cheek Chelsea 7

Note: Club(s) represents the permanent clubs during the player's time in the Under-21s. Those players in bold are still eligible to play for the team.

Players

Current squad

For the 2017–18 and 2018–19 seasons, including the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, players born on or after 1 January 1996 are eligible. [7] Players born after 1 January 1998 remain eligible to play for England under-20s.

The following players were named in the squad for the European Championship qualifier against the Ukraine, to be played on 10 November 2017. [10]

Caps and goals updated as of 10 November 2017. Names in bold denote players who have been capped for the senior team.

0 # 0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
- 1 GK Angus Gunn ( 1996-01-22 ) 22 January 1996 10 0 Norwich City (on loan from Manchester City)
- 1 GK Dean Henderson ( 1997-03-12 ) 12 March 1997 0 0 Shrewsbury Town (on loan from Manchester United)
- 1 GK Freddie Woodman ( 1997-03-04 ) 4 March 1997 2 0 Newcastle United

- 2 DF Trent Alexander-Arnold ( 1998-10-07 ) 7 October 1998 2 0 Liverpool
- 2 DF Jake Clarke-Salter ( 1997-09-22 ) 22 September 1997 0 0 Chelsea
- 2 DF Jonjoe Kenny ( 1997-03-15 ) 15 March 1997 4 0 Everton
- 2 DF Fikayo Tomori ( 1997-12-19 ) 19 December 1997 3 0 Hull City (on loan from Chelsea)
- 2 DF Axel Tuanzebe ( 1997-11-14 ) 14 November 1997 1 0 Manchester United
- 2 DF Kyle Walker-Peters ( 1997-04-13 ) 13 April 1997 4 0 Tottenham Hotspur
- 2 DF Joe Worrall ( 1997-01-10 ) 10 January 1997 2 0 Nottingham Forest

- 3 MF Lewis Cook ( 1997-02-03 ) 3 February 1997 5 0 Bournemouth
- 3 MF Kieran Dowell ( 1997-10-10 ) 10 October 1997 2 0 Nottingham Forest (on loan from Everton)
- 3 MF Sam Field ( 1998-05-08 ) 8 May 1998 0 0 West Bromwich Albion
- 3 MF Ainsley Maitland-Niles ( 1997-08-29 ) 29 August 1997 2 0 Arsenal

- 4 FW Dominic Calvert-Lewin ( 1997-03-16 ) 16 March 1997 5 1 Everton
- 4 FW Demarai Gray ( 1996-06-28 ) 28 June 1996 16 5 Leicester City
- 4 FW Jack Harrison ( 1996-11-20 ) 20 November 1996 2 0 New York City FC
- 4 FW Ademola Lookman ( 1997-10-20 ) 20 October 1997 5 0 Everton
- 4 FW James Maddison ( 1996-11-23 ) 23 November 1996 1 0 Norwich City
- 4 FW Dominic Solanke ( 1997-09-14 ) 14 September 1997 8 2 Liverpool

Recent call ups

The following players have previously been called up to the England under-21 squad and remain eligible.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
DF Ben Chilwell ( 1996-12-21 ) 21 December 1996 8 0 Leicester City v. Ukraine, 10 November 2017 INJ [10]
DF Dael Fry ( 1997-08-30 ) 30 August 1997 2 0 Middlesbrough v. Ukraine, 10 November 2017 INJ [10]
DF Brendan Galloway ( 1996-03-17 ) 17 March 1996 3 0 Sunderland (on loan from Everton) v. Italy, 10 November 2016 [33]
DF Joe Gomez ( 1997-05-23 ) 23 May 1997 7 0 Liverpool v. Andorra, 11 October 2017 [34]
DF Mason Holgate ( 1996-10-22 ) 22 October 1996 6 0 Everton v. Latvia, 5 September 2017 [18]

MF Dele Alli ( 1996-04-11 ) 11 April 1996 2 0 Tottenham Hotspur v. Norway, 7 September 2015 [36]
MF Izzy Brown ( 1997-01-07 ) 7 January 1997 0 0 Brighton & Hove Albion (on loan from Chelsea) 2017 European Championship training camp [12]
MF Tom Davies ( 1998-06-30 ) 30 June 1998 2 1 Everton v. Ukraine, 10 November 2017 INJ [10]
MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek ( 1996-01-23 ) 23 January 1996 17 7 Crystal Palace (on loan from Chelsea) v. Andorra, 11 October 2017 [34]
MF Josh Onomah ( 1997-04-27 ) 27 April 1997 4 2 Aston Villa (on loan from Tottenham Hotspur) v. Ukraine, 10 November 2017 INJ [10]
MF Kasey Palmer ( 1996-11-09 ) 9 November 1996 6 1 Huddersfield Town (on loan from Chelsea) v. Latvia, 5 September 2017 [18]
MF Harry Winks ( 1996-02-02 ) 2 February 1996 2 0 Tottenham Hotspur v. Scotland, 6 October 2017

FW Tammy Abraham ( 1997-10-02 ) 2 October 1997 12 4 Swansea City (on loan from Chelsea) v. Andorra, 11 October 2017 [34]
FW Sheyi Ojo ( 1997-06-19 ) 19 June 1997 1 0 Fulham (on loan from Liverpool) v. Scotland, 6 October 2017 INJ [34]
FW Marcus Rashford ( 1997-10-31 ) 31 October 1997 1 3 Manchester United v. Norway, 6 September 2016 [39]
FW Patrick Roberts ( 1997-02-05 ) 5 February 1997 0 0 Celtic (on loan from Manchester City) 2017 European Championship training camp [12]
  • INJ Player withdrew from the squad before any games had been played.
  1. Winks was withdrawn from the under-21 squad on 2 October after being called-up to the senior side. [38]

Past squads