Head Coach Brian Eastick believes his squad are now fully prepared for next week's Euros.
UEFA European U19 Championships
Prague & Liberec, Czech Republic
14-26 July 2008
Click here for the full tournament details
England U19s made their final preparations on home soil this week, before they jet to the Czech Republic on Saturday for the European U19 Championships and Head Coach Brian Eastick has been pleased with his squad so far.
Speaking from their base in the Essex countryside, Eastick believes the group who have been together since Tuesday have shown the right attitude ahead of a big tournament.
Unfortunately injuries have seen captain Ciaran Clark and striker Daniel Welbeck withdrawn from the trip, but with their replacements in Ben Mee and Tope Obadeyo respectively, confidence is high.
“Whilst the preparations have been good, of course it hasn’t gone to plan with the two withdrawals,” Eastick told TheFA.com
“The lads that we have brought in since have plenty of experience though and we are going there with what is a very strong group of players.
“Training has gone well this week and at the training camp we held in Burton the week before and I feel the squad are prepared for the competition now.
“We have done a lot of hard work and now we head there, where we need to be focused and it’s down to the players to achieve what they want to and that is to win the competition.”
Clark’s withdrawal from the squad means that there will be a change in positions for certain players, but with Chelsea’s Jack Cork taking over as captain and moving from midfield to right-back, it gives opportunities for others in the squad.
“The right-back position has caused us the most problems, because Sam Hutchison, who is a very good player and started the season as our captain, was injured last year and then Curtis Obeng picked up an injury in the qualifiers in Belarus,” added Eastick.
“Jack will now play at right-back, which is a position he played last season for Scunthorpe and in turn, that gives someone else an opportunity to play in midfield.
“Losing Daniel Welbeck was a blow, but Manchester United have been first class with us. They said that we could keep him to see how he progressed, but when he deteriorated towards the end of this week, we had to withdraw him for the sake of the squad and his long term future.
“Tope has been around the squad this season though and we also have Daniel Sturridge and Freddie Sears in the squad, so we have a variety of strikers to choose from.”
The Young Lions open up the competition when they face the Czech Republic in Jablonec on Monday evening and once the squad arrive at their base in Liberec, all attentions turn to that game.
“We will have chance to acclimatise and prepare the squad properly for the game through Sunday and Monday, but we know that the Czech Republic game will be hard,” he explained.
“There will be a big crowd, it’s live on Eurosport and it’s the first game of the competition so all eyes will be on us.
“Now the lads are fully focused on the match and we will be ready to go out there and play.”