England U17s striker Mason Bennett impressed with St. George's Park.
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By James Marshall in Burton
England U17s marked a special occasion for The Football Association this weekend, becoming the first England team to stay and train at St. George’s Park in Burton.
The magnificent new facility will this week host squads from England, Italy, Portugal and Turkey, as the four nations prepare for The FA’s annual U17 International Tournament. John Peacock’s Young Lions will open the tournament on Wednesday evening, when they play Italy at Burton Albion’s nearby Pirelli Stadium.
The England youngsters arrived at the centre on Saturday and have been impressed with the facilities that our on offer and locally-based Derby County striker Mason Bennett has been particularly startled by what is on offer.
"The facilities are incredible, the hotel is amazing and the pitch we’ve been training on is in a perfect condition for us, and I believe it’s a replica of Wembley," he said.
"The squad has settled in very well to St. George’s Park, there is a good buzz around the group, everyone has been looking on fire in training and the lads are raring to go now for the first game.
"Recently, we have visited the centre with Derby and it’s so impressive when you see it for the first time, all my family and friends are proud of me to have the opportunity and it’s an honour to be part of the first England team to stay and train here."
Eventually all of England's national teams will meet and train at SGP for their games, as well as being the hub for The FA's coach education and with some of the best facilities on offer, Bennett believes it is a perfect place for players and staff alike.
"We have a great squad of players and St George’s Park is the ideal place to train, relax in between games, be ourselves around the place, and more importantly for us to focus on our games and continue to improve for England," he added.
Bennett, who became the youngest player to feature for Derby’s first-team last season at the age of 15, also believes his team-mates have the ability to produce some good performances over the three games.
"The group of players at this level is a very talented bunch, the tournament will be a step-up from the Victory Shield in terms of the teams being more technical and I’m sure the boys will up their game and produce some good performances over the three games."