Swain: 'It's not all about winning'
By Nicholas Veevers
Friday, 25 November, 2011
Head Coach looking for development, as England aim for Victory Shield title.
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England U16s Head Coach Kenny Swain takes his side into their final Sky Sports Victory Shield game on Friday evening, when they take on Scotland in Inverness.
The Young Lions are on the verge of picking up their eleventh successive title in this competition, but for Swain himself it's more important to see the players show signs of development in international football as opposed to accolades.
In recent seasons, an increasing number of the players who have taken their first steps for the national team under Swain with the U16s have progressed through the various youth teams and into the Senior set-up and that is something which Swain takes far more pleasure out of.
"People always mention winning the Victory Shield, but for me, it's not always about that," he admitted.
"Whilst the Victory Shield is a competition that we’ve done well in over the years, and I am proud of our record of tournament wins, for me it's more so for the steady progression of U16s through to Under-21 and Senior level.
"At this early stage, we want the players to experience, learn and improve and that doesn't always mean winning games and winning trophies.
"The results aren’t particularly important at this level so it’s mainly the performance that counts and when the performances are good the results will follow, so that’s what we’re hoping for again this year."
And with two wins in the competition already this season against Northern Ireland and Wales, Swain believes he has another strong set of players from this year group.
They will face further tests in 2012 with games lined-up against Spain in February and then the Montaigu Tournament in the spring, so there is plenty of opportunity for Swain and his staff to look at even more players.
"I think we have some real talent in England at the moment, certainly in the last three or four years we have some great players emerging in this country and they have started to come through in numbers now," he added.
"There is a real depth to this squad and plenty more quality players will come through at this level during the next two games."