Noel Blake's team target Elite Round success and road to Romania.
By Nicholas Veevers
UEFA European U19 Championship
Elite Qualifying Round Group 2
In Switzerland, from 31 May-5 June 2011
ENGLAND, Switzerland, Montenegro, Spain
England U19s are hoping to become the latest team to qualify for a competition finale over the next six days, as they have landed in Switzerland for the European U19 Championship Elite Qualifying Round, which gets underway later today [Tuesday].
It’s been a busy competition season for all of the England teams so far, with European Finals
for the U17s earlier this month and a World Cup
now coming up, the Under-21 European Finals
scheduled for June and a FIFA U20 World Cup
coming up in July.
Noel Blake’s U19s are also hoping to reach their Euro Finals but face a tricky group containing hosts Switzerland, perennial favourites Spain and Montenegro all fighting to seal a spot in the last eight who will head to Romania for the Finals.
Only one team from the four will progress to the Finals in July, but Blake and his squad are prepared for the games.
“The lads have trained quite well and I’m pleased with them,” Blake told TheFA.com.
“We met up on Wednesday and we’ve had a few pull-outs, but that aside, the lads have settled well and looked sharp in training.”
There have been four changes to the squad which was originally named
by Blake, with injuries forcing the withdrawal of three players and then striker Connor Wickham being promoted to the Under-21 squad. As a result, it remains a young group for the U19 level but Blake doesn’t have any issues with that.
“If you look at the squad, it’s a ’92 year group but we only have three ’92-born players in the squad and the rest are all ’93-born players,” added the Head Coach.
“We only have Tom Ince, James Hurst and Michael Ngoo who are born in ’92, so they are a very young group for the U19s.
“On top of that, we’ve lost Connor Wickham to the Under-21s and the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Tom Thorpe and Gary Gardner all pulled out through injury so it’s changed quite a bit from our original squad.
“But all of the lads have played this season and this is the best squad that we have to go to Switzerland.
“It’s a development group and this is the purpose of it. Out of the ’92-born group of players, a number aren’t available to us such as the likes of Jack Wilshere and Phil Jones. For the right reasons, they are playing in the Senior and Under-21 squads, which is great.
“That is the purpose of it, and that is why it’s a development group and what the system is about. If they move up, it’s a chance for somebody else.”
Squad in full - Click here to see full player stats, or on each player’s name to view their own individual profileGOALKEEPERSJack Butland
(Birmingham City), Sam Johnstone
(Manchester United)DEFENDERSJames Hurst
(West Bromwich Albion), Kieran Kennedy
(Manchester City) Jack Robinson
(Liverpool), George Taft
(Leicester City), Jamaal Lascelles
(Nottingham Forest)***, Andre Wisdom
(Southampton), Conor Coady
(Liverpool), George Thorne
(West Bromwich Albion)^, Harry Kane
(Tottenham Hotspur), Josh McEachran
(Chelsea), Jordan Obita
(Reading), Luke Williams
(Liverpool), Michael Ngoo
(Liverpool), Benik Afobe
(Arsenal, loan to Huddersfield Town)*
* Replacing Connor Wickham
(Ipswich Town) included in Under-21 squad. Afobe will join the squad in Switzerland after the League One Play-Off Final.
** Replacing Jonjo Shelvey
(Liverpool) withdrawn injured.
*** Replacing Tom Thorpe
(Manchester United) withdrawn injured.
^ Replacing Gary Gardner
(Aston Villa) withdrawn injured.
^^ Replacing John Flanagan
(Liverpool) withdrawn injured.