England could get double dose of Euros in 2021 as UEFA consider shrinking Under 21 tournament
England could get double dose of European Championship action in 2021 as UEFA consider shrinking Under 21 tournament in order to host next summer
- The European Championship has been rescheduled to take place next summer
- UEFA planned to postpone the U21 tournament, also due to take place in 2021
- They are now discussing shoehorning the competition into a congested summer
- One of the proposals involves reducing the number of teams from 12 to eight
UEFA are considering cutting the number of teams at next year’s Under 21 European Championship so they can shoehorn the tournament into a congested summer.
The European governing body had been planning to postpone the tournament for 12 months to avoid a clash with the rescheduled senior European Championship — a move they have already announced for the women’s Euros.
But now they are moving towards staging the competition next year in what would be a bumper summer of international football.
The Under-21 European Championship, held by Spain, could still take place next summer
Sportsmail can reveal that one of the proposals under consideration to enable both tournaments to take place is reducing the number of teams in the Under 21 edition from 12 to eight, which would make it harder for England to qualify.
Aidy Boothroyd’s side are top of their qualification group, having won all four matches before games were suspended in March. The manager may welcome the tournament proceeding in 2021 as his contract expires next summer.
This has led to doubts over whether he would be in charge if it was delayed for a year.
A clash with the senior European Championship could present problems for Gareth Southgate, however. He has called up several Under 21 stars, including Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi, to his recent squads and this plan would leave him with a difficult decision over how to use them.
Phil Foden and England are top of their qualification group having won all four matches
Boothroyd would want to pick the best possible squad for the tournament in Hungary and Slovenia after England crashed out in the group stages of last year’s competition.
That led to intense criticism of the 49-year-old, but Southgate’s side would be given precedence by the FA. UEFA are conscious that pushing the Under 21 tournament back 12 months would mean that many players would no longer be eligible, potentially hindering their development as well as disrupting qualifying for the 2023 competition.
To complicate matters, several Under 21 players could also be involved in next year’s Olympics — a competition for Under 23s.