The Young Lions will play Northern Ireland, Turkey and Italy in a tournament starting in August.
England v Northern Ireland, Turkey and Italy
U17 International Tournament 2007
29 August - 2 September 2007
At Brentford FC, Wycombe Wanderers FC and Luton Town FC The next generation of England stars get their U17 international season underway on home turf in August with a friendly tournament against Northern Ireland, Turkey and Italy.
The England youngsters will use the games as a warm up for their European Championship qualifying campaign later in the year and coach Noel Blake will be hoping to get the new campaign off to a perfect start when they face Northern Ireland at Brentford’s Griffin Park on 29 August (KO 7.45pm).
England U17s, who are no strangers to big game atmosphere having beaten Spain as U16s at Wembley Stadium last season, then meet Turkey at Wycombe Wanderers on 31 August (7.45pm) before the tournament concludes against Italy at Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road on 2 September (3pm).
It’s going to be a busy summer for the England youth squads with the youngsters also competing at the Nordic Tournament in Denmark at the end of July while last season’s U17 squad travel to South Korea in August for the World Cup.
Blake is looking forward to the challenges ahead.
"We’ll have the squad together for three or four days before the Northern Ireland game and it will be good to see everyone back in action while giving us a chance to plan our approach for the tournament," said the former Birmingham City defender.
Blake realises that the friendly tournament will provide another fierce test for the U17 squad. "All three sides are going to be tough opponents and it’s going to be a good learning experience for everyone involved.
"It was massive for us to play at Wembley against Spain last April and the boys handled it brilliantly. Everyone wants a piece of that now so there’s lots of competition for places from within the squad and from players that are on the fringes of receiving a call up as well."
Blake, who managed Exeter City in the Football League and Stoke City at youth level, is hoping that fans of Brentford, Wycombe, Luton and England will all turn out in force to support the U17s.
"It’s a great opportunity for fans to see players who have the potential to achieve big things in the game. The lads are just starting out as professionals so they’re still learning and developing as footballers but it’s our goal to do well in the tournament and play entertaining football at the same time.