Kenny Swain spoke of his delight at the Young Lions comfortable 6-0 dismissal of Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland 0-6 England
The Sky Sports Victory Shield
7.40pm, Friday 3 October 2008
Ballymena Showgrounds, Ballymena FC
Click here for full tournament details
England U16s began their defence of the Sky Sports Victory Shield on Friday, with a resounding 6-0 win over Northern Ireland in Ballymena.
A brace from Arsenal's Benik Afobe and goals from Jake Fowler, Ross Barkley and Manchester United's Ra'vel Morrison were accompanied by a Ben Oliver own goal and gave England the perfect start in a tournament they have won for the past seven seasons.
With a host of new U16 players being introduced by Head Coach Kenny Swain, this result suggests a bright future for the Young Lions, but more importantly for Swain was the performance he witnessed.
"I'm thrilled to bits," he beamed.
"We've got the tournament off to a great start and considering we only had four days together, the quality of football and the level of understanding among the team was as good as I’ve seen in three or four years," he continued.
"To score six goals away from home and to keep a clean sheet is a very, very difficult task for any international side but I'm delighted we managed it.
"It was a very satisfying result for all the players and the staff and one that we can all feel proud of."
England U16s travel to Llanelli at the end of the month to take on Wales before rounding off the tournament by hosting Scotland in November but, despite this result Swain has warned his players against complacency.
"All the players in the squad are well aware of the competition in this age group, so they know they can't rest on their laurels," he said. "However, this result will give the boys a lot of confidence going into the Wales game and hopefully we can continue where we left off."
Opening with an emphatic 6-0 victory, the Young Lions have sent out a message of intent to their next two opponents as they seek their eighth straight Victory Shield triumph.Click here for the 2008 Sky Sports Victory Shield schedule and table