Young Lions face hosts
Thursday, 02 February, 2012
Algarve Tournament opener for John Peacock's side on Thursday.
England U17s play their first game of 2012 on Thursday afternoon as they open the Algarve Tournament with a game against host nation Portugal.
John Peacock's side are regular competitors in the annual tournament, with three games in five days against some of Europe's best teams offering a good warm-up for the players ahead of the next set of UEFA European Championship qualifiers in March.
This year sees games against Portugal, France and the Netherlands between today and next Monday, so Peacock knows that these matches will see his players ready for the rigours of the Elite Round, which takes place in Georgia next month.
"We're always invited to the Algarve Tournament every year, as a reciprocal agreement with the Portuguese for them entering our own International Tournament in England during the summer," he said.
"There are always four good teams out here, it's a good standard and with three games in a short space of time, it's a chance for the players to get used to tournament football which we'll be facing in March."
Peacock has had to make three changes to his original squad with defenders Isaac Hayden (Arsenal), Adam Webster (Portsmouth) and Luke Shaw (Southampton) all withdrawing and being replaced by Jordan Houghton (Chelsea), Luke Woodland (Bolton Wanderers) and Alastair Gordon (Chelsea).
When the two sides met in England last August, the Young Lions ran out as 1-0 winners at Northampton's Sixfields Stadium on their way to lifting The FA International Tournament.