Callum Hudson-Odoi is unfortunate not to have been recalled to the senior England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland, Under-21 head coach Aidy Boothroyd said.
But his inclusion in the Young Lions’ travelling party for the group stage of the European Championship, which begins next week, is a big boost that also shows the Chelsea youngster’s humble approach.
The 20-year-old has benfited from Thomas Tuchel’s arrival at Stamford Bridge in late January, performing both as a wing back and attacking midfielder, and that fueled a belief that he might be moved back up to the senior national set up.
However, his willingness to commit to the Under-21 side having dropped back down from Gareth Southgate’s team is a major positive for Boothroyd ahead of their Group D campaign which begins against Switzerland on Thursday week – with the head coach also hoping Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood will react in the same fashion following his inclusion.
“I think so,” Boothroyd said when asked if Hudson-Odoi was unlucky to miss out on senior selection. “Not only that, but one or two players on our standby list for this particular squad can consider themselves unlucky. That’s good for me because the quality of the players is so high.
“But that’s all part of sport and life. You get an opportunity, you take it, things don’t work out, you come back down, you’ve got to get back on your bike and go again. Callum has certainly done that, we’re expecting Mason to do that and anybody else who goes up to the senior team and comes back to us.
“There’s an expectation from us that is exactly the same as the senior team and all the pathways. We want you to be the best you can be and dealing with disappointment is part of that.”
Boothroyd and Southgate hold regular conversations around players who are between squads but the former is aware that having less focus and intensity around his side can often benefit youngsters more.
“That is part of what we’re managing now between Gareth and myself, with players go up to the first team and come back down, it’s a great a window into their attitude of the sort of people that they are.
“I went overboard talking about Calum and how good he was when he came back. There are ups and downs for these young guys and that is part of what we do, to offer than environment where they can relax a little bit and show what they’ve got.
“But if they’re not with us in terms of how we want to do that and what’s expected, then they don’t last very long. But those that do tend to get back into the seniors and do very well.
England U21 squad
Goalkeepers Josef Bursik (Stoke City), Josh Griffiths (Cheltenham Town; on loan from West Bromwich Albion), Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United)
Defenders Max Aarons (Norwich City), Ben Godfrey (Everton), Marc Guehi (Swansea City; on loan from Chelsea), Lloyd Kelly (Bournemouth), Ryan Sessegnon (Hoffenheim; on loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Steven Sessegnon (Bristol City; on loan from Fulham), Japhet Tanganga (Tottenham Hotspur), Ben Wilmot (Watford)
Midfielders Tom Davies (Everton), Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Conor Gallagher (West Bromwich Albion; on loan from Chelsea), Curtis Jones (Liverpool), Dwight McNeil (Burnley), Oliver Skipp (Norwich City; on loan from Tottenham Hotspur)
Forwards Rhian Brewster (Sheffield United), Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), Noni Madueke (PSV Eindhoven), Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal), Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal).