Kenny Swain hails his side's second-half performance against Wales.
Sky Sports Victory Shield
7.40pm, Thursday 15 October 2009
Huish Park, Yeovil Town FC
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Kenny Swain expressed pleasure with his side's second-half performance against Wales on Thursday evening, as a late Zak Ansah header gave England three points in their opening match of this season's Victory Shield.
The U16s played host to Osian Roberts' young charges at Huish Park and the visitors were certainly lively and direct in the opening exchanges, testing England 'keeper, Jordan Pickford on a few occasions. The home side eventually got a foothold in the game and with Matthias Fanimo leading from the front they ended the first 40 minutes on top, Adil Nabi hitting the bar on the stroke of half-time.
Two half-time substitutions prompted a reshuffle, with the newly-introduced Alex Henshall and Nathan Redmond occupying the flanks to great effect and skipper, Jordan Cousins, dropping into the backline in place of Tyler Blackett.
These changes shifted the balance of power and England were soon in the ascendancy, but they were made to wait until the 76th minute before they could make their superiority count.
"I was impressed with the way Wales set about us in the first half," Swain conceded. "They made life difficult for us and created some good chances. But I was delighted with the way the boys responded in the second half.
"They are all talented players as they have proved with their club teams and I'd like to think we're continuing that development programme when they're on international duty," he continued. "They were very good for us in training throughout this week and I'm pleased with the way they brought that commitment and ability into last night's game.
"They played with less anxiety [in the second half] and that gave us the confidence to go and take the game forward.
"I think there might have been an element of nerves in the first 15-20 minutes, which is understandable, but the way they set their stall out in the second half is very encouraging."
England's second Victory Shield match is against Northern Ireland on Thursday 5 November, 7.40pm kick-off. As with every match in this schoolboy competition, it will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
1 Jordan Pickford, 2 Luke Hendrie, 3 Callum McFadzean (16 Anthony Callaghan, 66), 4 Jordan Cousins (C), 5 Sam Magri, 6 Tyler Blackett (17 Alex Henshall, 41), 7 Matthias Fanimo, 8 Robbie Cotton, 9 Hallam Hope (12 Zak Ansah, 60), 10 Adil Nabi (14 Nathan Redmond, 41), 11 Jake Caskey (15 Adam Jackson, 71)
Substitutes not used
13 Bradley Watkins, 18 Curtis Edwards
Head Coach Kenny Swain
1 Luke Chambers, 2 Adam Henley, 3 Jordan Holt, 4 Alex Nicholson, 5 Will James (C), 6 Elliot Scotcher, 7 James Loveridge, 8 George Higgins (14 Theo Wharton, 57), 9 Jack Simmons (15 Callum Holden, 68), 10 Leon Newell, 11 Will Roberts (16 Declan John, 57)
Substitutes not used
12 Christian Dibble, 13 Josh Pike, 17 Lewis Blackmore, 18 Dalton Harris
Technical Director Osian Roberts
Referee Darren Sheldrake
Assistant Referees Mark Russell and Lee Collins
Fourth Official Kevin Johnson