Former Robins boss Downing takes charge of England U-20s
FORMER Cheltenham Town manager Keith Downing has been confirmed as England Under-20s coach for the 2019/20 season.
He led the Young Lions to 2017 Under-19 Euro victory and was in charge of the Under-19s last season, but now moves up a year group.
Downing’s first match is a home international against the Netherlands at Shrewsbury Town on Thursday, September 5 (7pm), with Barnsley’s ex-robins youngster Luke Thomas in the squad for the first time.
Ian Foster has been appointed as the new head coach of the Under-18s, following more than two years as specialist coach with the Under-17s.
Paul Simpson, who won the U20 World Cup in 2017, will take charge of this year’s Under-19s, working towards qualification for next summer’s Under-19 Euro Finals, which will be staged in Northern Ireland.
All three coaches will work to a three-year cycle, moving up through the age groups and working with a group of players over a longer period, enhancing individual and team development and focusing on qualifying and competing in major international tournaments.
Former Wolves and Hereford United midfielder Downing joined Cheltenham as assistant to manager John Ward in the summer of 2004.
He then took over in the top job following Ward’s departure to Carlisle United in October 2007, keeping the Robins in League One against all the odds with a dramatic 2-1 final day victory over Doncaster Rovers, having recorded an improbable win double over Leeds United.
Downing was replaced by Martin Allen in September 2008 and he went on to work at West Bromwich Albion, including time as caretaker manager, between 2009 and 2015 before joining the England set-up and working as an opposition analyst for Gareth Southgate at last summer’s World Cup in Russia.