‘We’re all to blame’: England U21 captain Eddie Nketiah explains reasons behind Euro 2021 struggles

The Young Lions are staring at elimination after defeat to both Switzerland and Portugal

Nick Mashiter
Tuesday 30 March 2021 08:21
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<p>Eddie Nketiah of England reacts after defeat to Portugal at 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship</p>

Eddie Nketiah of England reacts after defeat to Portugal at 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship

England Under-21 captain Eddie Nketiah insists everybody is to blame for the sluggish start to Euro 2021 with the Young Lions losing both games.

The Arsenal youngster has rejected the suggestion that Aidy Boothroyd’s team are out of their depth, pointing to their club form.

An early exit is on the cards after falling to Switzerland and Portugal, with Boothroyd under pressure, though they can still qualify with a two-goal victory over Croatia, provided Switzerland lose to Portugal.

But without a shot on target from open play in Slovenia, the signs are not good, but Nketiah has moved to underline the “quality” of the group and their ability to perform at this level.

“No, I think obviously we have the quality. We have the players to deal with that jump,” said the Arsenal striker.

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“Obviously we’re all playing at a good level at our clubs, which are at the highest level and you know the opposition are going to be difficult.

“They have made it very hard for us, but I think we’ve got to look at ourselves and see how we are performing and how, as a team collectively, we can perform better.

“It’s a mix of things, obviously, football doesn’t always go your way. It’s been two games and two probably ‘off games’.

“Against Switzerland we had a lot more of the ball and probably just lacked that penetration, but in the Portugal game I think, in the transitional moments, the final pass we failed to take full advantage of.

“It’s been a disappointing first two games. We all know that. It’s just about keeping our heads up and challenging ourselves to finish strongly in the Croatia game.”

Nketiah also moved to ease the pressure off boss Boothroyd, with the manager out of contract in the summer.

He added: “That’s on all of us, you know. We’re all to blame for that. We all had sloppy moments in the game and it’s just about cutting that out and playing to the best of our ability.

“We know we have the quality and we have shown in qualifying that we can score goals, so it’s about producing that here and - like I said - taking that bit of extra care and detail with the final pass.”

PA

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