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Boothroyd hoping for Carrow Road backing as ‘exceptional’ Maddison returns to Norwich

England U21 head coach Aidy Boothroyd was in Russia as part of the senior squad's back-room team during the World Cup Picture: Nick Potts/PA

England U21 head coach Aidy Boothroyd was in Russia as part of the senior squad's back-room team during the World Cup Picture: Nick Potts/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Aidy Boothroyd has called on the Carrow Road crowd to get behind the England Under-21s, as the ‘exceptional’ talent of James Maddison returns to Norwich.

The Young Lions are poised to take on the Netherlands in a crunch European U21 Championship qualifier on Thursday night (7.45pm), with former Canaries players Maddison and Angus Gunn in their squad.

“It’ll be very important, as there’s something on the game,” said U21s head coach Boothroyd, who was an academy coach at City between 2001 and 2003. “Beating the Netherlands will help us towards qualification and as always, if the crowd is behind you and with you, it always helps the players on the pitch.

“I know from my experiences at Norwich, that it will be very positive and they’ll get behind us. It’s nice to be able to take the U21s around the country and to Norfolk and show the general public some of the stuff that’s happening in the development teams as well as what they’ve seen at senior level after this summer’s World Cup.”

Gunn and Maddison are among the Canaries connections which have brought the former Watford manager back to Norfolk in recent years.

“I remember both of the Murphy boys, Jacob and Josh, came through there and both were involved in some of my earlier U19 and U20 squads,” he continued.

“I remember watching Harrison Reed on loan from Southampton and then last year, we saw Angus Gunn and James Maddison playing for Norwich and James was exceptional before his move to Leicester this summer.

“So I’ve been a few times to keep an eye on players and have always enjoyed it and been well looked after.”

MORE: England U21s set to bring World Cup spirit to Carrow Road

Speaking to City’s website, Boothroyd added: “My daughter Cerys was born there (in Norwich) in 2003 and I had three-and-a-half brilliant years there under Nigel Worthington as manager, and Delia and Michael as owners, and I always love going back to Norwich.

“They always treat you really well, they’re brilliant people and the club in general is one of those where if you spend too long there, you’d never leave, as it’s that nice. We loved living in Norfolk and working at the club was one of the highlights of my career. I was the U19 coach and I only left because I got an opportunity for a role at West Bromwich Albion which I decided to take.

“I had some great and enjoyable times and when your kids are born in places, you always have a bond and affinity with them.”

• Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for concessions, from TheFA.com/tickets, by calling 01603 721902 or from City’s ticket offices.

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