Into the England groove
Tuesday, 19 October, 2010
Hallam Hope believes the U17s have adapted well to international football.
by Glenn Lavery
After their 3-0 defeat of Sweden in Monday afternoon’s Euro qualifier, England’s two-goal hero Hallam Hope believes his U17 team-mates have quickly adjusted to the demands of the international game.
As an U16 year group last season, the majority of John Peacock’s First Qualifying Round squad helped maintain England’s grip on the Victory Shield, for the ninth successive year, and they were later only beaten on penalities by Portugal in the Montaigu Tournament.
So far this season, their two tournament outings have garnered two different titles - the Nordic Tournament trophy and The FA International U17 Tournament trophy - and they have now got their European campaign off to the perfect start in Georgia.
“It’s harder to play international football,” explained Hope. “You’ve got different challenges and different tests to deal with in each game, but I think we’ve all adapted nicely.
“As a squad, we’ve been together for a few different competitions now, and that does help, and I think we gelled really well against Sweden,” he continued.
“It was quite a hard game but we had most of the ball and we just had to break them down really. I thought we played well. We know that winning the first game is important in these qualifiers and we’re all pleased that we’ve done that.”
The Everton forward scored England’s first and third goals in the win, his fourth and fifth U17 goals this season and he says this brace has whetted his appetite for the second qualifier, against Georgia on Wednesday.
“It’s a great feeling, scoring for your country,” he said. “As a striker, scoring goals gives you confidence and I’m looking forward to playing Georgia now. They are the home team so it will be another different challenge for us, but we’re going into the game off the back of a decent win, so hopefully we can get another three points.”