Bobby Davison speaks about his work with the U19s this season.
When England U19s secured their place in the Elite Qualifying Round of the European Championship earlier this year, there was a new member of the backroom staff on board to help Head Coach Noel Blake with his duties.
Former Leeds United, Derby County and Sheffield United striker Bobby Davison travelled for the games in Belgium as assistant coach, after previously working with the squad in their first game of the season against Slovakia.
A qualified UEFA Pro coach, Davison had been working in Hungary as manager of Ferencvaros until late last year after previously being in youth football with the likes of Bradford City and Sheffield United.
And it was his link with Blake which led to him joining the England staff for the games in October which took place in Belgium and saw matches against the hosts, Cyprus and Albania.
“As part of my Pro License, I met Noel Blake and he asked me to assist with the U19s,” revealed Davison, who also works with Leeds United’s young players.
“My experience as a youth team coach at Bradford, helping ten youth players in two years make their debuts, and my practice in working with young players in Hungary served as a good background for the challenge.
“It was successful out in Belgium – Albania, Cyprus and Belgium were in our group and we qualified for the Elite Round next year.
“We had three games in six days so it was hard work and Noel did fantastically well as all 18 players got to start in one of the three games.”
After first getting a taste with the U19s for their game with Slovakia in Crewe in September, the trip to also represented a different experience for Newcastle-born Davison, away from the club environment to which he has been used.
With so many games in such a short period of time, it’s as much about managing the players’ time whether that’s their training or relaxation periods and it was something he believes is important for both the squad and support staff.
“The format of the days were quite long, from a staff point of view, as we tried to educate the players into tournament football which is very important,” he added, in an interview with the LMA’s ‘In The Game’ magazine.
“It’s something that Noel and The FA are trying to push and we had many meetings analysing the performances, opposition, training, unit meetings so the educational side was very important in preparation for matchday.
“It was great to work with the players – there is an array of talent and these boys could potentially be together for the next few years.”
With a coaching role at the Leeds United Academy, Davison hopes he will be able to continue with his role with the U19s, who hope to tie up a game with Germany in February before May comes around and they head to Switzerland for the Elite Round games.
“Moving forward, there is another game coming up and the Elite Round,” he said.
“Ray Clemence and Sir Trevor Brooking, who came out to the matches, will decide on any potential involvement I have in the future.
“It was an enjoyable experience and a new one in being involved in international tournament football.”