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

TenureHead 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

PositionStaff
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 recordUEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification recordManager(s)
YearRoundPositionPldWD *LGFGAPldWDLGFGA
1978Semi-Finals4th of 84121444400172Sexton
1980Semi-Finals3rd of 84112444400112Sexton
1982Champions1st of 863211186411125Sexton
1984Champions1st of 865011336501134Sexton
1986Semi-Finals4th of 8412134632193Sexton
1988Semi-Finals3rd of 8421166413073Sexton
1990Did not qualify6411105Sexton
1992Did not qualify6312115McMenemy
1994Did not qualify10433208McMenemy
1996Did not qualify8611134Sexton
1998Did not qualify10631115Taylor
2000Group Stage5th of 83102649801263Taylor, Reid, Wilkinson[3]
2002Group Stage7th of 83102468521188Wilkinson Platt[3]
2004Did not qualify83231410Platt
2006Did not qualify126422310Taylor
2007Semi-Finals3rd of 8413053431084Taylor, Pearce[3]
2009Runners-Up2nd of 852308910820225Pearce
2011Group Stage7th of 830212310631178Pearce
2013Group Stage7th of 830031510901263Pearce
2015Group Stage7th of 8310224121110354Southgate
2017Semi-Finals3rd of 124220738620203Southgate, Boothroyd[3]
Total2 titles14/215319171771651611093220343103

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
PosTeamPldWDLGFGAGDPtsQualification
1 5410102+813Final tournament6 Sep27 Mar3–13–011 Oct
2 Netherlands5221134+98Play-offs if among four best runners-up1–116 Oct11 Sep3–08–0
3 Ukraine5221104+680–21–112 Oct7 Sep11 Sep
4 Scotland5212660716 Oct2–00–21–16 Sep
5 Latvia6033210−8311 Sep12 Oct1–10–20–0
6 Andorra4013015−1510–127 Mar0–623 Mar16 Oct
Updated to match(es) played on 14 November 2017. Source:

Records

Leading appearances

RankPlayerClub(s)U-21 Caps
1James MilnerLeeds United, Newcastle United, Aston Villa46
2Nathaniel ChalobahChelsea, Watford40
3Nathan RedmondBirmingham City, Norwich City, Southampton38
4Tom HuddlestoneDerby County, Tottenham Hotspur33
Fabrice MuambaBirmingham City, Bolton Wanderers33
6James Ward-ProwseSouthampton31
7Michael MancienneChelsea, Hamburg30
8Scott CarsonLeeds United, Liverpool29
Steven TaylorNewcastle United29
Danny RoseTottenham Hotspur29
11Jack ButlandBirmingham City, Stoke City28

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

RankPlayerClub(s)U-21 Goals
1Alan ShearerSouthampton13
Francis JeffersEverton, Arsenal13
3Saido BerahinoWest Bromwich Albion11
4Nathan RedmondBirmingham City, Norwich City, Southampton10
5Darren BentIpswich Town, Charlton Athletic9
Frank LampardWest Ham United9
James MilnerLeeds United, Newcastle United, Aston Villa9
8Harry KaneTottenham Hotspur8
Mark HateleyCoventry City, Portsmouth8
Lewis BakerChelsea, Vitesse8
Carl CortWimbledon8
12Mark RobinsManchester United7
Shola AmeobiNewcastle United7
Jermain DefoeWest Ham United7
Ruben Loftus-CheekChelsea7

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#0Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClub
-1GKAngus Gunn(1996-01-22) 22 January 1996 100 Norwich City (on loan from Manchester City)
-1GKDean Henderson(1997-03-12) 12 March 1997 00 Shrewsbury Town (on loan from Manchester United)
-1GKFreddie Woodman(1997-03-04) 4 March 1997 20 Newcastle United

-2DFTrent Alexander-Arnold(1998-10-07) 7 October 1998 20 Liverpool
-2DFJake Clarke-Salter(1997-09-22) 22 September 1997 00 Chelsea
-2DFJonjoe Kenny(1997-03-15) 15 March 1997 40 Everton
-2DFFikayo Tomori(1997-12-19) 19 December 1997 30 Hull City (on loan from Chelsea)
-2DFAxel Tuanzebe(1997-11-14) 14 November 1997 10 Manchester United
-2DFKyle Walker-Peters(1997-04-13) 13 April 1997 40 Tottenham Hotspur
-2DFJoe Worrall(1997-01-10) 10 January 1997 20 Nottingham Forest

-3MFLewis Cook(1997-02-03) 3 February 1997 50 Bournemouth
-3MFKieran Dowell(1997-10-10) 10 October 1997 20 Nottingham Forest (on loan from Everton)
-3MFSam Field(1998-05-08) 8 May 1998 00 West Bromwich Albion
-3MFAinsley Maitland-Niles(1997-08-29) 29 August 1997 20 Arsenal

-4FWDominic Calvert-Lewin(1997-03-16) 16 March 1997 51 Everton
-4FWDemarai Gray(1996-06-28) 28 June 1996 165 Leicester City
-4FWJack Harrison(1996-11-20) 20 November 1996 20 New York City FC
-4FWAdemola Lookman(1997-10-20) 20 October 1997 50 Everton
-4FWJames Maddison(1996-11-23) 23 November 1996 10 Norwich City
-4FWDominic Solanke(1997-09-14) 14 September 1997 82 Liverpool

Recent call ups

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

Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClubLatest call-up
DFBen Chilwell(1996-12-21) 21 December 1996 80 Leicester Cityv.  Ukraine, 10 November 2017 INJ[10]
DFDael Fry(1997-08-30) 30 August 1997 20 Middlesbroughv.  Ukraine, 10 November 2017 INJ[10]
DFBrendan Galloway(1996-03-17) 17 March 1996 30 Sunderland (on loan from Everton)v.  Italy, 10 November 2016[33]
DFJoe Gomez(1997-05-23) 23 May 1997 70 Liverpoolv.  Andorra, 11 October 2017[34]
DFMason Holgate(1996-10-22) 22 October 1996 60 Evertonv.  Latvia, 5 September 2017[18]

MFDele Alli(1996-04-11) 11 April 1996 20 Tottenham Hotspurv.  Norway, 7 September 2015[36]
MFIzzy Brown(1997-01-07) 7 January 1997 00 Brighton & Hove Albion (on loan from Chelsea)2017 European Championship training camp[12]
MFTom Davies(1998-06-30) 30 June 1998 21 Evertonv.  Ukraine, 10 November 2017 INJ[10]
MFRuben Loftus-Cheek(1996-01-23) 23 January 1996 177 Crystal Palace (on loan from Chelsea)v.  Andorra, 11 October 2017[34]
MFJosh Onomah(1997-04-27) 27 April 1997 42 Aston Villa (on loan from Tottenham Hotspur)v.  Ukraine, 10 November 2017 INJ[10]
MFKasey Palmer(1996-11-09) 9 November 1996 61 Huddersfield Town (on loan from Chelsea)v.  Latvia, 5 September 2017[18]
MFHarry Winks(1996-02-02) 2 February 1996 20 Tottenham Hotspurv.  Scotland, 6 October 2017

FWTammy Abraham(1997-10-02) 2 October 1997 124 Swansea City (on loan from Chelsea)v.  Andorra, 11 October 2017[34]
FWSheyi Ojo(1997-06-19) 19 June 1997 10 Fulham (on loan from Liverpool)v.  Scotland, 6 October 2017 INJ[34]
FWMarcus Rashford(1997-10-31) 31 October 1997 13 Manchester Unitedv.  Norway, 6 September 2016[39]
FWPatrick Roberts(1997-02-05) 5 February 1997 00 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