England U21 manager Aidy Boothroyd says Curtis Jones’ sending off after the final whistle against Poland U21s was the result of a “highly emotive situation”.
Domagoj Bradaric’s injury-time stunner broke England U21 hearts to deny the Young Lions a place in the Euro 2021 quarter-finals, despite a 2-1 win over Croatia on Wednesday night.
A bloodied-nosed Curtis Jones was left angered at full-time as he clashed with the celebrating Croatia U21 players on the pitch moments after the final whistle. The Liverpool midfielder was sent off as tempers flared amid a mass brawl.
Boothroyd believes a combination of the Croatian players’ celebration and their gamesmanship during the match provoked a reaction out of Jones.
“All their staff were on the pitch and celebrating in between some of our players and it just got a bit fraught”, Boothroyd said after the game.
“Emotions got high. I’ve got to get to the bottom of the card [for Curtis Jones]. I have been unable to speak to the referee yet. I’ll find out what when on there.
“It is one of those highly emotive situations where sometimes things can happen, thankfully both sets of staff sorted it out.”
Portugal topped Group D after winning 3-0 and it is Croatia, rather than England, who will meet Spain in a quarter-final in May.
Boothroyd, who is out of contract in the summer, said after England’s exit that he will continue to support senior boss Gareth Southgate.