England’s under-21 side were beaten 2-0 by Portugal last night as the team’s European Championship bid suffered a near terminal blow.
This followed a defeat to Switzerland in the opener, making it almost certain that the team will be eliminated at the group stage.
United talent Mason Greenwood was due to be involved, before pulling out of the squad with an injury.
Greenwood was evidently missed, but he is also best off out of it.
Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd has a terrible record and was lucky not to be fired after the last European Championships, where he managed to get a squad with Dean Henderson, Phil Foden and Tammy Abraham eliminated at the group stages.
England are not going to win anything at under-21 level under Boothroyd, and Greenwood is best off not having to partake in this failure.
The knockout stages of the tournament are due to be played in the summer. It seems very unlikely England will now be involved after two defeats from the opening two group stage games.
England’s early elimination saves Greenwood getting called up for summer involvement with the under-21s.
You would hope, at least. There is a possibility friendly matches are arranged, but this would seem like a waste of time.
Greenwood instead appears set to have a free summer, which works in Manchester United’s favour.
United will want Greenwood to get a pre-season under his belt and be ready to hit the ground running for 2021/22.
One of the reasons for his struggles this season is his lack of rest last summer, which amounted to roughly a 10 day break before he was called up by England.
His England stint ended badly as he was sent home after a Covid breach. A lack of rest may have contributed to his poor decision making.
The last time Greenwood got a break was during lockdown last year, and when he returned, he had the best run of form of his career so far.
A proper rest benefits Greenwood, and benefits Manchester United for next season.
While there is a small chance that a strong end to the season could see him called into the senior squad for Euro 2021, it does not seem like Gareth Southgate intends to rely on him, even though Phil Foden has been recalled since his own indiscretion.
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