Brian Eastick speaks as he prepares to name his squad for the finals later this month.
UEFA European U19 Championships
Prague & Liberec, Czech Republic
14-26 July 2008
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England U19 Head Coach Brian Eastick has assembled a squad of players together for a three day training camp this week, as he prepares to name his final roll-call for the UEFA European U19 Championships later this month.
Eastick has to name a squad of just 18 players for the trip to the Czech Republic, but with over 30 players having represented the U19s over the last season, he faces something of a selection dilemma.
There are currently 22 players at the training camp, taking place at the National Football Centre in Burton-on-Trent, where they assembled on Sunday before training on Monday and Tuesday ahead of the squad announcement on Wednesday evening.
With the competition starting in just under two weeks, Eastick felt it was important to get his players together for some early preparation after the close season break from their clubs.
“With the first match against the Czech Republic on 14 July, it does give us some physical problems,” Eastick told TheFA.com.
“The players are going back for pre-season with their clubs at various times, so we felt it was important to get a three day camp in and get some physical preparation into them before they go back to their clubs and then meet up again next Tuesday.”
Following the team’s qualification for the finals in the Elite Qualifying Round in Belarus in May, Eastick did advise his players to keep themselves fit over the summer in preparation for what can be considered an early return to competitive action.
After seeing his players at close quarters over the last two days, he feels that the Young Lions should be in good shape when they begin the tournament, which also sees them face Italy and Greece.
“All of the clubs give the players their individual programmes from their sports scientists, so I’m sure they’ve all been conscientious of that,” he added.
“It’s really about some contact time on the ball and a bit of bonding as well.
“Ideally, we wouldn’t choose to play a tournament at this time but all of the other countries are in the same boat so we just have to get on with it.”
The final 18 man squad will be announced, live on Setanta Sports News, on Wednesday evening, so Eastick admits he will have some difficult choices to make when the training camp comes to an end on Tuesday.
“We’ve had to put an initial squad of 30 in to UEFA and one or two players are missing here, people like James Tomkins and Kieran Gibbs who are still on holiday,” he revealed.
“At the end of these three days, I will sit down with my staff and announce a squad of 18.
“There are still one or two doubts. People like Danny Gosling, Danny Sturridge, Sone Aluko and Victor Moses have got a few problems so we’ll look at how they are and look at them physically and at the bigger picture in terms of the preparation.”