LONDON: Lee Carsley has been appointed as the England men’s Under-21 head coach and will be assisted by former Three Lions defender Ashley Cole.
Carsley, the former Everton and Derby County player, was appointed after a comprehensive recruitment process and will step up from his role with the Manchester United U20s.
He succeeds the Aidy Boothroyd.
Carsley will continue to maintain strong relationships with all national coaches and players to support England pathway activity. Cole, meanwhile, will combine his duties with his ongoing work at Chelsea’s academy.
Having previously worked as United u-21s’ assistant coach, Carsley’s connection to England Football goes back to initially working with the MU19s in 2015 while he has also added to his club coaching experience in recent years with work at Manchester City and Birmingham City.
During his playing days, he also won 40 caps for the Republic of Ireland so is well-versed in the international game.
Carsley said: “I see it as a massive honour and achievement to coach the Under-21s. It is a really prestigious position with a lot of responsibility as has been proven by the calibre of predecessors in this role.
“Gareth and Steve Holland have always been very supportive and I am looking forward to working more closely with them. We have a great opportunity to help the senior side by developing the best young talent in this country while combining that with being successful at U21 level.
“We want to win matches. I don’t think you can have one without the other, these lads want to compete at the highest level and test themselves against the best. We have to acknowledge the work being done by the academies and I know how important it will be to have good relationships
with the clubs.
“I will have a great team around me. Ashley is a brilliant addition to the staff and we will also have Tim Dittmer as goalkeeping coach, with all of his experience of the game. I have been on courses with Ashley during lockdown and been impressed. He is committed to coaching and player
development soa lot of our thoughts are aligned.”
John McDermott, The FA’s technical director, said: “I am very happy to be able to confirm Lee’s appointment, and to be able to bring in someone of Ashley’s stature as his No2, with thanks to Chelsea for their support. It was a very competitive recruitment process and the calibre of people
that put themselves forward underlines the importance of the U21 set-up.
“Leading this age-group is a unique challenge as the obvious aim is to win matches and do well at final tournaments, but there is also a clear requirement to support Gareth and the seniors. Lee has a wonderful knowledge of age-group football and will also be able to put his strong club relationships to good use. We should never forget the duty of care we have as we work to support the development of our brightest emerging players and I know Lee and Ashley will get that right.”
Cole remains one of the most decorated England men’s footballers of all-time, winning 107 caps during an illustrious career. He started with Arsenal, being part of the unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ team that claimed the 2003/04 Premier League title, before helping Chelsea lift the Champions League in 2011/12.
In all, he represented England at three FIFA World Cups and two UEFA European Championships, while winning the Premier League three times and the FA Cup seven times.
Cole said: “I am really happy to get this opportunity to support Lee and work with the best youngsters in the country. I loved playing for the national team and to now get the chance to work as an England coach is a special feeling. St. George’s Park is an amazing place and I can’t wait to get started. I want to do my best to help young players to develop, and also learn from some brilliant people at the same time.”
Cole’s coaching career began with Derby County in 2019, before returning to a role working with Chelsea’s academy in October that year. In June this year, he took part in the launch of England Football Learning’s International Player to Coach (IP2C) programme, which works with former and current international players as they transition into coaching and management.
The programme’s inaugural participants also included Wayne Rooney, Michael Dawson and Carlton Cole.
Carsley’s first game in charge of the Young Lions comes when they kick-off the new season with a trip to face Romania in an U21 international in Bucharest on 3 September. After that game, the squad will return home and begin their new UEFA U21 EURO qualifying campaign when they host Kosovo on 7 September.