Young Lions prepare for qualifying trip to Belgium.
UEFA European U19 Championship
First Qualifying Round
Albania, Belgium, Cyprus, England
8-13 October 2010
Malmedy & Vise, Belgium
Click here for fixtures
England began their preparations for the First Qualifying Round of the European U19 Championships at the weekend, when they hope to take another step towards reaching the last eight of the competition for a fourth successive season.
Noel Blake's squad travel to Belgium for the games, where they will face opposition from Albania, Cyprus and the hosts. Should they finish in the top two of their group of four, then they will progress to the Elite Qualifying Round which takes place next May.
England's record in this competition has been strong over the last few years too. Blake's side reached the semi-final in France earlier this year before losing against Spain and they went one further in 2009 when they reached the Final against hosts Ukraine. Prior to that, England were also in the last eight in 2008 when they travelled to Czech Republic for the Finals.
The U19s have already played once this season, beating Slovakia by 2-0 in a friendly at Crewe Alexandra last month and the 18-man squad on duty for the qualifiers is largely the same given the impressive display that night.
Nine members of the squad all experienced European glory earlier this year as part of the U17 European Championship winning team in Liechtenstein in May, whilst there is also experience at U19 level in midfielder John Bostock who featured for Blake's team throughout last season and scored in the semi-final against Spain in July.
Having been based in the Midlands until departure to their base in Verviers on Tuesday morning, the Young Lions have been using West Bromwich Albion's training facilities for their preparations and you can watch an FATV video of the squad in action now by clicking on the link to the right.