Blake: 'An important exercise'
Wednesday, 10 November, 2010
Head Coach outlines value of next Tuesday's game at Wycombe.
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England boss Noel Blake hopes to give himself something of a selection poser next week, when he leads the U18 squad into a game with Poland at Wycombe Wanderers' Adams Park.
With Blake’s U19 side already through to the Elite Qualifying Round of the European Championship, the Head Coach is looking for more competition for places in his squad.
After England’s success at U17 level last season, when John Peacock’s team were crowned as European Champions, a number of the players involved then have already made the step-up to Blake’s U19 squad this season but with other young hopefuls from the year group below also impressing this season, this match gives the rest an opportunity to stake their claim.
“This game serves as an important exercise for the players,” revealed Blake, as he prepares for the squad meet-up this weekend.
“The U18s is an important age bracket for us and as a year group, there is plenty of talent and depth within it.
“The fact that there is such a strong depth of players in this year group (born in 1993), and with 11 or 12 of them in the current U19s (who can be born in 1992), we felt it was important to arrange a challenging fixture for the group.”
Wladyslaw Zmuda’s Poland are the visitors to Buckinghamshire on this occasion, but with the prospect of there being a further U18 fixture in the new year, there will be ample opportunity for any players to try and force their way into Blake’s thinking for the Elite Round games which are likely to take place next spring.
“Playing games at this level gives us an opportunity to test a few more players and see how they develop over the coming months,” added Blake.
“It’s an important stage of their international development so we continue to monitor their progress and not just those who are currently in the U19 squad.
“There is good competition for places in this year group, and the depth of this squad means that there are many players who can consider themselves unlucky not to be selected.
“It’s a nice problem to have, and one that we would like to have all the time.”