VIDEO: Blake's useful exercise
Wednesday, 17 November, 2010
Head Coach pleased with squad and performance.
By Nicholas Veevers
Click here to see the video interview and highlights of the game.
England U18s Head Coach Noel Blake was delighted with what he saw at Adams Park last night, as his side comfortably saw off Poland with a competent performance throughout.
And with three England debutants in the starting line-up and a further five new faces appearing as substitutes in the second half, Blake was pleased to be given a few more options for his U19 squad both for over the rest of this season and in the 2011-12 campaign.
“I thought it went very well,” he told TheFA.com. “The object of the exercise is development, because this age group isn’t a championship year.
“It gave us the opportunity to look at a few fresh faces and we brought several new boys into the system for this fixture and we were very pleased with some of the individual performances and the new boys all acquitted themselves very well.
“The boys who played in the championship year last season made good contributions as well, so it’s an improvement from their point of view that we’re looking at..
“It’s a challenge for the new boys in international football, but they’ve settled down and they delivered.”
Blake also paid tribute to the group as a whole, after what has been a worthwhile few days together ahead of the game with many of the youngsters not having played together before.
“As soon as we met up on Saturday evening, they’ve been great,” he added. “Sometimes it can get a little bit difficult with one or two egos in the group, even at this age, but this group have been super both on and off the field.
“Their attitude has been first class and they’ve performed really well in training and we just told them to take that onto the pitch and that’s exactly what they’ve done.
“It was a good test for us, because we knew Poland would give us a game, so that was pleasing.”
With the U19s next in competitive action in the European Championship Elite Qualifying Round next spring, Blake plans to have another U18 fixture in 2011, as he continues to look at all his options for the future.
“We will play another U18 fixture against Italy in April, but it’s a difficult year group in terms of fixtures and it’s been a good exercise,” he explained.
“This age group in particular lets us have a look at the late developers. One or two of the boys who have played tonight are still developing and going through growth spurts, so we have to be patient with them.
“For instance, in last year’s U19s age group, Steven Caulker didn’t come in until that age group and now he’s just played for the Under-21s so it just goes to show that you’ve got to be patient when it comes to development of young players.”