'A cracking experience'
Monday, 09 August, 2010
Kenny Swain salutes his Nordic champions.
by Glenn Lavery
Kenny Swain says he is very happy with how the latest crop of England U17 internationals are developing.
A 2-1 victory over Sweden on Sunday, courtesy of goals from Max Clayton and Adam Morgan, saw the Young Lions lift the Nordic Tournament title in Finland, and after the game Swain articulated his delight with both the victory and the experience his players received.
“We started really well,” said Swain, of England’s performance in the Final. “We had a very positive opening 10-15 minutes. We scored early on and could easily have got another one in that period. The game then settled down into a good quality contest, which provided these boys with a very good challenge.
“I’m really proud of them,” he continued. “Not just because they won the tournament but the way they have trained all week, they way they have taken their training into games and the way they have gelled as a team. I couldn’t really have asked any more of them. I’m really pleased because they are progressing well.
“The last week has been a cracking experience for them. They’ve had a terrific season so far, not just the boys in Finland but the whole group of 40 [eligible players]. They have got better as the year’s gone on and to compete in a tournament like this is great for them. They’ve now played in a couple of Finals [this group of players reached the Final of the Montaigu Tournament as U16s] and the opportunity to challenge for trophies in one-off games could be invaluable to them.”
The Nordic Tournament is the traditional curtain-raiser to the U17 season and it could be the first of six separate tournaments England will compete in during this campaign, with an appearance at next year’s U17 World Cup providing a potential seventh. As Swain mentioned above, over the last season he has had an opportunity to look at over 40 different players and although they can’t all be involved for the next set of internationals, Swain is well aware of their capabilities.
“The squad is broadening and they’ve got some wonderful opportunities ahead of them now, this year group.
“We can only select 18 for the International Tournament [at the end of August], but every player here has made a positive contribution to the Nordics and if they are not selected for the next squad they will all be on standby.
“They’ve showed me what they can do and now it’s a matter of moving forward and progressing further as the season goes on.”