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 By PA Sport

Boothroyd, England U21s having fun with pressure ahead of Poland test

England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd hopes the Young Lions will be able to give Poland the boot at Euro 2017 after his bargain shoe buy.

The manager has been spotted wearing a pair of London brogues on matchdays as he tries to guide England to glory.

The shoes, which were reduced to £39.99 from £75 when Boothroyd found them on the high street, include a streak of blue suede which has stood out on the touchline.

Victory over hosts Poland in Kielce on Thursday would book England a last-four spot in the tournament for the first time since 2009.

And Boothroyd has tried to take the heat off his players after they put one foot in the semifinals on Monday with a 2-1 Group A triumph over Slovakia.

He said: "I knew there would be a little bit of stress and a little bit of pressure so I thought I would buy a pair of shoes that might be a talking point and take some off the heat off them!

"I got them out of TK Maxx and as soon as I put them on, Nathan Redmond looked at them and said, 'Strange shoes, boss.' So they are a nice little distraction.

"Lucky shoes? I don't know about that. They only go with so many things. If we win it, I might wear them every day.

"It's pressure you want. You don't want to not have pressure in your life. You need a bit of pressure, it keeps you healthy. It's good in many ways and is important because it helps keep everyone calm and in keel.

"For me personally it is really enjoyable, getting your stomach knotted up just like everybody else. I think over the years I have managed to keep calmer and hopefully more calculated.''

Aidy Boothroyd says he and his U21 England side are relishing the pressure of reaching the knockout rounds.

England have drawn with Sweden and beaten Slovakia to top their pool with one game to go in Kielce, and Boothroyd wants them to grow into the tournament.

He said: "I'd be lying if I said I'd planned it this way because I didn't want us to peak too early. But the honest answer is, we are finding our feet.

"We have had a bit of luck with injuries but I am pleased with how it's gone. I think if we keeping improving the way we have, we will have half a chance of going further in the tournament.''

And midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah admitted he has set his sights on adding European silverware to Premier League glory.

Chalobah is with the Young Lions just a month after he secured the Premier League title with Chelsea and, with his medal now a prized possession, he wants to pair it with a European one for England.

"Really? People give their medals away?'' he said. "I didn't give it away, I'll tell you that. It's in a safe somewhere. After biting it a few times, I realised it was actually real.

"It's my first one I wasn't going to give that away, I'll tell you that.

"Winning [Euro 2017] would be an amazing achievement -- unreal. I won't be throwing that one away either.''

This tournament marks the end of Chalobah's international youth career and, if England reach the June 30 final and the 22-year-old plays every game, he will end his under-21 spell with 98 caps from all age groups, having started for the under-16s -- when he was 13 -- in 2008.

Nathaniel Chalobah of Chelsea (L) is subbed on for Pedro of Chelsea (R)  during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on October 15, 2016 in London, England.
Nathaniel Chalobah is hoping to add a European Under-21 Championship medal to his Premier League silverware.

He said: "Not everybody makes the jump [to the seniors] but it's the target. I'm sure those who didn't get there have always tried. It's a pathway for all the players

"It [qualification] is in our hands and I think that gives us a little bit more responsibility. I think if we take that into the game in the right way then we should be fine.

"We've got to go into the game with the mindset to still win. It's down to us, really, and I don't think it's about complacency because we've only won one game so we've just got to kick on from there now and be positive.''

Chalobah made his Chelsea debut in last season's EFL Cup win at Leicester after loan spells at Watford, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Reading and Napoli.

Blues boss Antonio Conte continued to place trust in him and he made a total of 15 appearances last term, including 10 in the league.

"He showed faith in me in preseason and he liked the way I was working. That was a confidence boost,'' Chalobah said. "As a player, you just get the vibe.

"It's a very high standard at the club and the club has an amazing academy and produces really top players.

"It's just there's that barrier getting in there and staying in there. You're playing for one of the best teams in Europe, they're in the Champions League and the demand is high on winning.''


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