It’s been a week since news broke that Aidy Boothroyd will leave his role as England U21 head coach after five years in the seat.
The announcement surprised no one. Boothroyd had failed to elevate a talented group of players past the group stages in each of the last two major tournaments. The recent Euros failure was an immense disappointment.
The FA have now started the recruitment process for Boothroyd’s successor, with a whole host of names being linked in the next England U21s manager market; including a collection of young up-and-coming-coaches, familiar faces, and experienced heads.
We take a look at the latest…
Who is the favourite?
Highly-rated in England coaching circles, Justine Cochrane is as short as 4/9 with Paddy Power, although he can still be backed at 3/1 with Bet Victor.
Cochrane entered the England set-up in 2018 as manager of the U15s. He swiftly moved up into the U16s managerial category, then in September he was upgraded once again into the U17s dugout; a job he combines with his position as lead for the Youth Development Phase.
Gareth Southgate and Aidy Boothroyd previously had England connections before they got the U21s job, and we could see the same happen to Cochrane, who previously worked his way up through the Tottenham academy which culminated in coaching the club’s U23s.
Similar to Cochrane, the likes of Lee Carsley (U20s), Ian Foster (U19s), and Kevin Betsy (U18s) could be under consideration for a promotion, while the experienced former Charlton and Southend boss Chris Powell - who works under Gareth Southgate as a coach in the senior squad - is one to ponder at 20/1.
Could this be a job for Frank Lampard?
"I've had some opportunities that have come up in the last six weeks/two months, that have been flattering but not the right thing," Frank Lampard revealed earlier in April.
There’s been a clamour for the former Chelsea manager to be given the England U21s job (4/1) given his availability and record of developing young players at both Derby and Chelsea. He’d undeoubtly be both a popular and exciting appointment.
Lampard previously played for his country at U21s level - where he scored nine goals in 19 games - before making the step up into the first team. We could see a similar scenario here, should he get the Young Lions job he could put himself in a prime position to replace Gareth Southgate later down the line.
Frank Lampard is one of the favourites for the job
What about Jody Morris?
Frank Lampard may be grabbing the early headlines yet there’s reason to believe that his assistant at Derby and Chelsea, Jody Morris (8/1), could be the ideal candidate for the position.
Morris, a former FA Cup and UEFA Cup winners’ Cup winner as a Chelsea player, represents an attractive option given his vast experience working at youth level.
At Chelsea he coached the U21s, then assisted Joe Edwards at the U18s who won back-to-back FA Youth Cup finals. He was then propelled into the manager’s job with the U18s, where he lifted another two FA Youth Cups.
Morris then became the assistant to Lampard at Derby, who the duo took to the brink of the Premier League, which was followed by 18 months in a high-pressure environment at Chelsea.
Nicky Butt, Liam Rosenior, Michael Beale, Joe Cole, and Michael Carrick may have minimal outright managerial experience between them, but as coaches they are making waves.
They are in tune with the modern player and possess the attributes to galvanise and motivate England’s underperforming Young Lions.
Rangers assistant manager Michael Beale (20/1), who previously worked with the Chelsea and Liverpool youth teams, has been key to Steven Gerrard’s superb title-winning season.
Nicky Butt (18/1) has accumulated nine years worth of experience in coaching and development roles at Man Utd’s academy, which has seen him emerge as a candidate for the Preston job.
Nicky Butt could be an interesting option after he left Man Utd
Michael Carrick (25/1) is part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s backroom staff - he’s currently employed as a first team coach - and over the last six months his name has tentatively appeared in a few EFL manager markets
Liam Rosenior (16/1), linked to the Derby manager’s job earlier this season, is busy building his experience at the club where he’s assistant to Wayne Rooney, having previously spent time coaching at Brighton.
Former Chelsea player Joe Cole (28/1), who has proved to be a refreshing presence as a TV pundit, is eager to dip his foot into the managerial arena after completing his coaching badges.
"I've said before I'm not ready for a role like the England U21s manager,” Cole told JOE Media and Coral's All To Play For podcast. "But I'm a proud Englishman and playing for my country was the proudest moment of my career, so I would regard any kind of position like that as more of a calling than a job.
Whereas 12/1 shot Anthony Barry - who briefly looked after the first team after Frank Lampard left Chelsea - is a first team coach at both the Blues and the Republic of Ireland.
The experienced heads
While there’s a cluster of young, talented coaches in the frame, at this stage you can’t rule out a more experienced head being interested in the role.
Eddie Howe would be a blockbuster appointment at 16/1, as would Chris Wilder at 25/1, while Aston Villa boss Dean Smith is a 50/1 outsider.
Should the Cowley’s not sign a contract extension past the summer at Portsmouth, they represent an intriguing option at 20/1.