Tuesday, 23 August, 2011
Palace defender wants to make his mark with the U17s this season.
Tickets for FA U17 International Tournament matches are just £3 (adults) £1 (concessions), click here for full details
Ryan Inniss says he will use this week’s FA International U17 Tournament to cement his place in John Peacock’s thoughts for the coming season, with his ultimate aim being a place in the England squad for the U17 Euro Finals next summer.
The towering Crystal Palace centre back made five appearances for the U16s in the last campaign, helping the Young Lions to glory in both the Victory Shield and the Montaigu Tournament in France. He put in a number of commanding displays in both competitions and even scored the crucial winning goal against Scotland that clinched the Victory Shield in March.
England face Italy at Cambridge United’s Abbey Stadium on Wednesday in the opening match of this season’s International U17 Tournament and Inniss hopes it is the first of many matches he plays for his country in the coming months.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of my team-mates and they are all excited by the prospect of going to the Euros and beating the other big nations,” he said. “We know England won the Euros in 2010 and we want some of that ourselves. That would be amazing. But we’ve got to qualify first and we’ll be looking to gel more as a team this week before we start the qualifiers.
"It’s a cliché, but I just take every game as it comes," he continued. "I always want to improve, both with my club and with England and I’m sure playing in this Tournament this week will help me do that.
"I know it’s only a friendly tournament but I want to use it to stake my claim for a place in future U17 squads and hopefully the Euro squad as well, should we get there. I want to prove that I’m capable of playing for the U17s, but I’ve just got to take it one step at a time and try and make that centre back position my own."
As Inniss alluded to, Peacock uses this annual friendly Tournament as preparation for the First Qualifying Round of the UEFA European U17 Championship. England’s Euro campaign gets underway in late October when they travel to Bosnia & Herzegovina to take on the host nation, Latvia and the Euro holders Holland.
The top two nations will progress to the Elite Qualifying Round which will take place next spring. Should England qualify, Peacock will take his charges to the Algarve Tournament in February by way of preparations for those matches and Inniss is well aware of the benefit of these friendly tournaments.
“The quality of club football is very, very good, but when you play international football there are no weaknesses in either team,” he offered. “You get to come up against different styles of play, especially in tournament matches. For example, in the Montaigu Tournament we played a South American team in Uruguay and beat them 5-0 and maybe we thought a smaller nation like Guinea would be a bit easier for us, but we were wrong.
"Although we were confident after the Uruguay result, we only got a 0-0 draw with Guinea and they were a very hard team to play against. They had a style of play that we hadn’t really faced in the past. But that’s why it’s so good to play so many different countries, to learn how to play against different styles. It will be same this week, too.”
England have won this competition a record five times since its inception in 1999 and they will be hoping to retain the trophy as their predecessors won the Tournament last year. They will also face Czech Republic at Bishop’s Stortford’s Woodside Park on Friday evening before a final game against Portugal at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium on Sunday afternoon.