Aaron Ramsdale has backed under-fire England Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd.
The Sheffield United goalkeeper insists the players should take the blame after the Young Lions crashed out of Euro 2021, despite a 2-1 win over Croatia on Wednesday.
Ramsdale was beaten by Domagoj Bradaric’s stoppage-time stunner just as England looked to have secured the two-goal win they needed to book a quarter-final with Spain in May.
Boothroyd’s contract expires in the summer and Frank Lampard and Swansea boss Steve Cooper have already been linked to the job, but Ramsdale supported his current international boss.
The 22-year-old said: “I can’t speak enough of Aidy. We let ourselves down and the staff down. I don’t think we can point fingers at them. As a collective, we should have done better.
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“I don’t know his situation. He doesn’t let that affect him.
“He’s been top class for me and it’s just a shame that this will be my last chance to play or work with him in an England shirt.
“Every day off the training pitch, he’s lively and making sure nobody is moping around.
“He’s done a lot for me. Even if it was before when I was in the Under-20s. He integrated me into the group in training and was someone I could actually have a chat with.
“I remember I had a real good chat in November about the situation with my club. Obviously it wasn’t going too well for me, personally and as a team.
“He took it out of context rather than being my England manager, he spoke to me as a friend. He had been through that experience at Watford.”
Ebere Eze’s penalty and Curtis Jones’ second-half goal almost saw the Young Lions pull off a shock after losing their first two Group D games to Portugal and Switzerland.
Portugal beat the Swiss 3-0 to ensure England - who had Jones sent off after the final whistle following a scuffle with the Croatia team - would have qualified if they had hung on in Koper
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