Head Coach Brian Eastick believes Tuesday's game with the Netherlands is the ideal test for his team.
England v Netherlands
International U19 Friendly
7.45pm, Tuesday 9 September 2008
The Prostar Stadium, Shrewsbury Town FC
Live on Setanta
Ticket Hotline: 01743 273943
Tickets £3 in advance (£5 on gate) adults and £1 children and concessions
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Brian Eastick takes the England U19s squad into a new season on Tuesday, when they face the Netherlands at Shrewsbury Town’s Prostar Stadium.
The Young Lions went all the way to the final stages of last season’s European Championship and with qualification for this year’s competition starting early next month with games against Northern Ireland, Serbia and Albania, Eastick is hoping that he can help lead this year’s set of players just as far.
It was only in July when Eastick took the U19s to Czech Republic for the finals, where the Young Lions were perhaps a little unfortunate not to progress beyond the group stage, but the whole process starts again soon and Tuesday’s game should act as a good warm-up for England.
“It’ll be a good test for us, because the Dutch teams are always very good so it will be a challenge,” revealed Eastick ahead of the game.
“It’s now the start of another season with the U19s, so hopefully we can end it with an appearance in the European Championship finals as we did last time around.
“It’s come around very quickly though, because it only seems like yesterday that we were coming back from last season’s finals in Czech Republic very disappointed at missing out on a place in the semi-finals.
“The objective remains the same for us. That is to get through the qualifying rounds, get to the finals and then try to win it.”
With the likes of Jason Steele, Danny Rose, Krystian Pearce, Joe Mattock, Danny Gosling and Victor Moses (left) from the squad who played in July’s finals still eligible for the U19s this season, there is already experience of U19s international football and added to that, the new year group also contains many of the players who enjoyed a productive time as U17s two seasons ago.
“This group of players actually has a lot of experience, when you consider what they achieved as U17 players two years ago by reaching the European Championship final and then the quarter-finals of the World Cup,” explained Eastick.
“It was a terrific achievement and we had a number of these players involved with the U19s last season.
“That international experience should hold them in good stead. But having said that, all players develop and change over time, particularly at this age, so we’re not blinkered to the fact that there are other players out there who are coming on quite quickly.”
* Withdrawn and replaced by Matthew Briggs of Fulham.
** Withdrawn and replaced by Jack Rodwell of Everton.
*** Withdrawn and replaced by Jay Thomas of Arsenal.
**** Withdrawn and replaced by Nathan Baker of Aston Villa.