Brian Eastick was pleased to see his side progress to the Elite Qualfying stage earlier this week.
Earlier this week, the England U19s secured their progression to the next qualifying stage of the European Championship and now sights have quickly turned to the Elite Qualfying Round which will take place next year.
The Young Lions travelled to Belfast last week to face hosts Northern Ireland, Albania and Serbia in the First Qualifying Round and two wins out of the three games were enough to see Brian Eastick’s team through.
England started with a convincing 3-0 win against Albania, before beating Northern Ireland by 3-1 and then finishing up with a 4-1 defeat against Serbia on Monday, although both teams had already sealed their qualification by that stage with the Young Lions also having three members of the squad ruled out through injury.
However, Eastick, who missed the Serbia game due to a family bereavement, was pleased to progress to the next stage and is hoping his team can repeat last season’s achievement of reaching the Finals.
“We’re delighted to get through, really,” Eastick told TheFA.com
“We started with a convincing 3-0 victory against Albania and then the Northern Ireland game at Windsor Park proved to be quite difficult.
“We expected that. Playing Northern Ireland in their own back yard is always a difficult game, as the Seniors found out a few years ago.
“Our first-half performance in that game was excellent, though. We played some super football in the first 45 minutes.
“Credit to Northern Ireland, they came out in the second half and really set about us and made it difficult with a high level of competitiveness.
“We saw that through and Rhys Murphy got a third goal which made it more comfortable.”
With qualification secured after the Northern Ireland victory, a number of changes were made to the team which faced Serbia and with the likes of Daniel Welbeck, Rhys Murphy and Kieran Trippier all ruled out through injury, the squad was down to the bare bones for what was a third game in six days.
“Noel Blake took charge of the side for the final game against Serbia and we made a couple of changes to the team. But the players coming in were all very good players - they wouldn’t have been in the squad otherwise,” revealed Eastick.
“I spoke to Noel after the game and he said that one or two players let themselves down in their work ethic and there were one or two unforced errors which have cost us.
“We missed a terrific chance to equalise at 2-1 down and that could have changed the game.
“It was always going to be a tough game, though. Serbia are very strong physically, technically good and play well on the counter attack.
“Overall though, we’re pleased to be through and that was the object of the exercise.”
Going into the Elite Round, there are a number of players still eligible from the team which reached the finals earlier this year such as Krystian Pearce, Jason Steele and Victor Moses (pictured left) and Eastick hopes that can help his squad achieve their ambitions.
“It is a help. The more international experience these players get, the better and that’s what we say every time we qualify,” he added.
“We had a few players missing in Northern Ireland. Daniel Welbeck had to come home after only playing 15 minutes against Albania, Kieran Trippier got injured against Northern Ireland, Rhys Murphy missed the last game and of course we have Danny Rose and Joe Mattock who have both been unavailable and they’re both good players.
“It was a good squad though and an opportunity for those players to come in and show what they can do - or what they can’t do.
“That is why we decided to play a few of the players that were in the squad against Serbia.
“The squad is very important though, because it’s three games in six days which is very demanding and that’s why you need a full squad of 18 players.
“Against Serbia, we only had 15 in the squad so we only had three outfield players on the bench and that emphasises the point that all the players in that 18-man squad have a major part to play if the team is to be successful.”