Kenny Swain reflects on England's second consecutive Montaigu title.
After leading his England U16 side to success in the Montaigu Tournament for the second consecutive season, Head Coach Kenny Swain predicted a bright future for the players in this age group.
The Young Lions beat Germany 2-1 on penalties after their Final tie finished goalless. England qualified for their third successive Montaigu Final after defeating Russia, United Arab Emirates and Ivory Coast in the group stage, and the Final was as tight as the scoreline suggests.
"Games against Germany will always be tight and this one was no different," Swain reflected.
"It was a terrific contest for the boys. Neither side really created any clear-cut chances and you soon felt the game was going to be decided by the odd goal, a mistake or, as it turned out, a penalty shoot-out," he continued.
"Considering we had seven squad changes prior to the tournament, I'm delighted with how the boys handled the four games. They blended really well and I cannot fault their preparation or application.
"It’s good to have been in the Final for the last three seasons and I always look at this tournament as a reflection of where we stand in the European game, so to win it back-to-back is fantastic."
The four Montaigu games coupled with the three Victory Shield matches at the end of last year, has allowed Swain to use over 30 players this season, with five making the step up to John Peacock’s U17 side for the Algarve Tournament and the UEFA European U17 Qualifiers in February and March respectively.
The next challenge for the U16s will come in July when they partake in the Nordic Tournament, and Swain will take the opportunity to look at a few more eligible players.
"Looking at the Nordics," he said, "we’ve still got some more players to look at and we’ve had an unprecedented five players involved with the U17s this season, so I'm happy with the progress we’ve made so far.
"As a squad, their game understanding has improved, they’ve raised the bar in terms of their individual performances and we’re optimistic with regards to the future prospects of this year group."