Head Coach Brian Eastick knows he has some tough decisions to make in the coming weeks.
UEFA European U19 Championships
Prague & Liberec, Czech Republic
14-26 July 2008
Click here for fixtures and results
England U19 Head Coach Brian Eastick admits he will have a few tough decisions to make ahead of the European U19 Championships later this summer.
The Young Lions sealed their place in the finals last week, after victories over Poland, Serbia and Belarus in the Elite Qualifying round.
Now, Eastick has to decide on the squad which will travel out to the Czech Republic in July to face games against the hosts, Italy and Greece before hopefully progressing to the semi-final and final.
It means that there will no doubt be some disappointed players, as each team is only allowed to take a squad of 18 players to the competition.
Given that the U19s have used well over 30 players in all of the squads over the season, Eastick is going to be faced with some tough decisions when he names his squad in a few weeks.
The options are already restricted for Eastick with a couple of injuries to players who would more than likely be involved.
“We have had a few injuries this season and we’ve been without Sam Hutchinson, who is a great player and would have been our captain,” said Eastick.
“We have also been missing Daniel Sturridge from Manchester City who has had injuries and Henri Lansbury from Arsenal who has had glandular fever.
“Then there is Sone Aluko from Birmingham and Dan Gosling from Everton who missed the games in Belarus.
“We will have to be in contact with their clubs to see if any of them will be ready for the finals, but it doesn’t look as though they will be.”
However, Eastick is hoping that UEFA may be in touch soon to announce a change in the rules to allow teams to take a squad larger than 18 players.
After attending the draw for the finals, along with representatives from the other nations involved, Eastick believes that there is enough backing from everyone for UEFA to consider the change.
With possibly five games to play in the space of less than two weeks, it is a big ask for any U19 squad and that is the basis for the possible change.
“It will be a squad of 18 players for the finals which makes it very tough,” he said.
“That is a small squad to be playing in a lot of games over a short period of time, because we have the three games in the first round and then potentially a semi-final and a final if we get there.
“It’s my personal view that UEFA should allow us to have a squad of 20 players and having just come back from the draw and hearing some of the thoughts of the other countries, that’s maybe something that should be considered.”
We will have more from Brian throughout the week on TheFA.com, as he looks ahead to the finals in July.