England national under-21 football team
|Nickname(s)||The Young Lions|
|Association||The Football Association|
|Head coach||Lee Carsley|
|Most caps||James Milner (46)|
|Top scorer||Eddie Nketiah (16)|
| England 0–0 Wales |
(Wolverhampton, England; 15 December 1976)
| England 9–0 San Marino |
(Shrewsbury, England; 19 November 2013)
| Romania 4–0 England |
(Ploieşti, Romania; 14 October 1980)
England 0–4 Spain
(Birmingham, England; 27 February 2001)
Germany 4–0 England
(Malmö, Sweden; 29 June 2009)
|UEFA U-21 Championship|
|Appearances||16 (first in 1978)|
|Best result||Winners: (2) 1982, 1984|
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 has not played a senior competitive game in his previous country).
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 across England, in an attempt to encourage younger fans in all areas of the country to attend matches. 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. 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.
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. He remained in the post until June 2013, when it was announced that his contract would not be renewed. 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, the match ended in a 6–0 win for Hodgson's side. Former England international Gareth Southgate was made manager of the under-21 team on 22 August.
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. In February 2017, Boothroyd was confirmed as the permanent manager. Boothroyd left the role on in April 2021 following a disappointing European Championship campaign.
U21 Coaching staff
|Assistant Manager||Ashley Cole|
|Goalkeeping Coach||Timothy Dittmer|
Source: 
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 a 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.
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, reached the last 4 in 2017, before again exiting at the group stage in 2019 and 2021.
|UEFA European Under-21 Championship record||UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification record||Manager(s)|
|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|
|2002||Group Stage||7th of 8||3||1||0||2||4||6||8||5||2||1||18||8||Wilkinson Platt|
|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|
|2009||Runners-Up||2nd of 8||5||2||2||1||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|
|2019||Group Stage||9th of 12||3||0||1||2||6||9||10||8||2||0||23||4||Boothroyd|
|2021||Group Stage||12th of 16||3||1||0||2||2||4||10||9||1||0||34||9||Boothroyd|
Note: The year of the tournament represents the year in which it ends.
- *Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
Results and fixtures
2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship
Most capped players
|1||James Milner||2004–2009||Leeds United, Newcastle United, Aston Villa||46||8|
|3||Nathan Redmond||2013–2017||Birmingham City, Norwich City, Southampton||38||10|
|4||Tom Huddlestone||2005–2009||Derby County, Tottenham Hotspur||33||5|
|Fabrice Muamba||2007–2011||Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers||33||0|
|7||Michael Mancienne||2007–2011||Chelsea, Hamburger SV||30||1|
|8||Scott Carson||2004–2007||Leeds United, Liverpool||29||0|
|Danny Rose||2009–2013||Tottenham Hotspur||29||3|
|Steven Taylor||2004–2009||Newcastle United||29||4|
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.
|2||Alan Shearer||Southampton, Newcastle||13||11|
|Francis Jeffers||Everton, Arsenal||16|
|4||Saido Berahino||West Bromwich Albion||11||12|
|5||Nathan Redmond||Birmingham City, Norwich City, Southampton||10||38|
|6||Darren Bent||Ipswich Town, Charlton Athletic||9||14|
|Dominic Solanke||Chelsea, Liverpool, Bournemouth||18|
|Frank Lampard||West Ham United||19|
|James Milner||Leeds United, Newcastle United, Aston Villa||46|
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 born on or after 1 January 1998 will be eligible until the completion of the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
Caps and goals updated as of 25 March 2021. Names in italics denote players who have been capped for the senior team.
The following players have previously been called up to the England under-21 squad in the last 12 months and remain eligible.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
|DF||Lee Buchanan||7 March 2001||2||0||Derby County||v. Andorra, Albania, 13–17 November 2020|
|DF||Tariq Lamptey||30 September 2000||2||0||Brighton & Hove Albion||v. Andorra, Albania, 13–17 November 2020|
|DF||Jonathan Panzo||25 August 2000||5||0||Dijon||v. Andorra, Albania, 13–17 November 2020|
|DF||Bukayo Saka||5 September 2001||1||0||Arsenal||v. Kosovo, Austria, 4–8 September 2020|
|DF||Brandon Williams||3 September 2000||1||0||Manchester United||v. Andorra, Turkey, 7–13 October 2020|
|DF||Rhys Williams||3 February 2001||2||0||Liverpool||v. Andorra, Albania, 13–17 November 2020|
|MF||Jude Bellingham||29 June 2003||4||1||Borussia Dortmund||v. Andorra, Albania, 13–17 November 2020 SEN|
|FW||Mason Greenwood||1 October 2001||4||1||Manchester United||European Under-21 Championship group stage, 25–31 March 2021 INJ|
- INJ Player withdrew from the squad before any games had been played.
- SEN Player withdrew from the squad due to a call up to the senior team.
- 2000 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship squad
- 2002 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship squad
- 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship squad
- 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship squad
- 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship squad
- 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship squad
- 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship squad
- 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship squad
- 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship squad
- BBC News – Wembley opener attracts thousands
- "Wembley game 'sold out' in hours". BBC News. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
- The Guardian – Early set-back on Wembley's big day
- Veevers, Nicholas (28 September 2016). "Aidy Boothroyd set to take on England Under-21s position". The Football Association. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
- "Pearce named England U21 manager". BBC Sport. 19 July 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
- "Stuart Pearce: England Under-21 boss to leave role". BBC Sport. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
- "Roy Hodgson and Ray Lewington to manage England Under-21s against Scotland". thefa.com. Archived from the original on 3 August 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- "England Under-21s thrash Scotland 6-0 in friendly". BBC News. 13 August 2013.
- "Gareth Southgate named England Under-21 boss". BBC News. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
- "Aidy Boothroyd takes permanent charge of England Under-21 team". BBC Sport. 3 February 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
- "Lee Carsley named England MU21s coach". www.englandfootball.com. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
- Taylor managed the first five qualifiers, Reid managed one: Wilkinson managed the remainder of qualification and the finals campaign.
- Wilkinson resigned after the first five qualifiers, Platt managed the remainder of qualification and the finals campaign.
- Taylor managed the qualification campaign. He left before the tournament and was replaced by Pearce.
- Southgate managed the first six qualifiers, while Boothroyd managed the rest of the qualifiers and the finals campaign.
- "BT Sport extends FA Cup broadcast rights deal". BT Sport. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
- "European U21 Championship 2017 live on Sky Sports this summer". Sky Sports. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
- "Regulations of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship 2019-21" (PDF). UEFA. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
- "ENGLAND MU21 SQUAD NAMED FOR UEFA U21 EURO GROUP STAGES IN SLOVENIA". The Football Association. 15 March 2021. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
- "TODD CANTWELL JOINS ENGLAND SQUAD FOR U21 EURO AS MASON GREENWOOD WITHDRAWS". The Football Association. 23 March 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
- "TWO NEW FACES INCLUDED IN THE ENGLAND MU21S SQUAD FOR GAMES WITH ANDORRA AND ALBANIA". The Football Association. 6 November 2020. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
- "ENGLAND MU21S HEAD TO KOSOVO AND AUSTRIA FOR EURO QUALIFIERS WITH A 23-MAN SQUAD". The Football Association. 26 August 2020. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
- "BRANDON WILLIAMS, RHYS WILLIAMS AND SAM SURRIDGE JOIN MU21S AS FOUR WITHDRAW". The Football Association. 5 October 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
- "JUDE BELLINGHAM ADDED TO SENIOR ENGLAND SQUAD AS DUO WITHDRAW FROM NOVEMBER FIXTURES". The Football Association. 10 November 2020. Retrieved 10 November 2020.