Aidy Boothroyd is coach of the England under-21s. Since joining the Football Association in February 2014 he has coached the U21, U20, U19 age-group teams. He has led the U21s to the semi-final of the 2017 European Championship and the 2019 finals, and won the 2018 Toulon Tournament.
Earlier in his managerial career, Boothroyd led Watford into the Premier League just 14 months after becoming the league’s youngest manager. Boothroyd, who has managed at every level of English football, was 34 when he took charge at Vicarage Road in March 2005. He inherited a team facing relegation to football’s third tier but ensured their escape from the drop.
The following season Aidy’s Watford took football by surprise in winning promotion through the play-offs. They accounted for Crystal Palace in the semi-finals before beating Leeds United, Boothroyd’s previous employers, 3-0 in the final. It was vindication of an appointment that had raised eyebrows.
Boothroyd’s background was as assistant academy director at Norwich and then academy manager at West Bromwich before becoming first team coach at Elland Road under Kevin Blackwell, the manager he was to beat to promotion. Along with Blackwell, Boothroyd was one of the early graduates of the LMA’s Certificate in Applied Management at Warwick University.
The Yorkshireman played at full back for clubs including Huddersfield, Bristol Rovers, Hearts, Mansfield and Peterborough. His career was prematurely ended by injury when he was just 27 in 1998.
After Watford’s promotion of 2006, they were relegated the next season – though they reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup. The Hornets were back in the play-offs the following year after finishing sixth, but lost to Hull in the semi-finals on this occasion.
Boothroyd departed Watford on November 3rd, 2008 at a time when he was the second longest-serving manager in the Championship. Before Northampton, he was previously in charge of Coventry City in the npower Championship. Boothroyd joined Coventry in May 2010 from Colchester United where he guided the club to an 8th place finish in League One in the 2009-10 season.
Aidy later made an instant impact with the Cobblers as he comfortably secured their League Two status despite the club being in danger of falling out of the Football League prior to his appointment.
Further improvements were made in 2012/13, as Northampton narrowly missed out on promotion to League One after losing in the play-off final to Bradford.