Food for thought
Thursday, 08 March, 2012
Noel Blake happy to have selection dilemma next season.
By Nicholas Veevers
England U18s Head Coach Noel Blake watched his side finish their season off with a victory on Wednesday night, comfortably dispatching of Poland in front of a 6000-strong crowd at Crewe Alexandra's Gresty Road.
Goals from Manchester City's Jordie Hiwula, Everton striker Hallam Hope and Plymouth Argyle debutant Matt Lecointe were enough to see off the Poles and Blake admits he was happy with the display from his players, once they'd settled down into the game.
"I thought it was a good performance, but we had to earn the right and we started a little bit hesitantly and I felt we were nervous in the first ten minutes," he explained.
"Obviously there were a few newcomers to the group, with three or four making debuts so it was a good start for them.
"Once we settled down after the first goal, I thought there was only going to be one winner."
Following the success of last season's U17 group, who reached the semi-final of the European Championship and the quarter final of the World Cup under John Peacock, Blake has taken the opportunity to look at a number of fresh faces with the U18s this season.
With a competition campaign for this year group with the U19s starting after the summer, Blake now has food for thought on his options and a larger and more varied set of players to choose from in his mind.
"I was pleased with a number of them, they all have potential but we don't look too far ahead," he said. "I'm pleased with them at this moment in time, but tomorrow's another day.
"What I've said to this group is that it's a preparation for the game with Germany U19s in September.
"That might seem like a long way away now, but it's a prep-group for us and this is the only game we've got before then.
"We know what a number of the boys who went to the U17 World Cup and Euros last season can do and they are deliberately not here tonight, but it gives us an opportunity to look at a few fresh faces and it's up to them now.
"Some of the new boys have done quite well and it gives me a problem, and that's what we want with the younger groups."