U19s Head Coach Noel Blake speaks to FATV about Tuesday's victory over Finland
England U19s 1-0 Finland
Tuesday 13 November 2012
New Bucks Head Stadium, AFC Telford United
By Nicholas Veevers
Noel Blake hailed his U19s for their sheer determination and spirit, after it took a last-gasp penalty from captain John Lundstram to see off stern opposition from Finland.
It had looked as though the Young Lions would have to settle for a draw in their last match of 2012, but when Everton midfielder Lundstram stepped up to win the game, Blake felt it was fully deserved.
And the Head Coach was pleased with the reaction of his squad, which featured a number of new faces at international level.
He told FATV: "We left it late, but it's a game that I felt we dominated, particularly in the second half.
"I always felt we were going to win the game and I said that to the staff on the bench, I could see a 1-0 here.
"What pleased me though, with the squad we've put together, was the way they applied themselves and stuck to the task.
"I said to them, especially the new lads, 'welcome to international football' because no side is going to lie down for you.
"This was a game where we took the opportunity to look at a few fresh faces and they all acquitted themselves very well.
"I saw some really pleasing things tonight, in a tight game."
With the Elite Qualifying Round coming up next May and more games to be scheduled before then for Blake's side, he was pleased with the contribution of international newcomers such as Bradley Potts and Miles Storey who made their first appearances for England at any level.
"Every English player in this year group has an opportunity, if they're doing the right thing with their clubs and performing well," he explained.
"We watch the games and people will look at us tonight and wonder where Bradley Potts has appeared from, but I've seen him play for Carlisle United and I've seen Miles Storey play for Swindon.
"So these boys haven't appeared from nowhere. We watch them and monitor them and when an opportunity comes along, as it did tonight, they have a chance to show what they're about.
"Even if they have a bad performance, and I'm not saying they did, that's not the end of the world because we monitor them so we know what they're capable of.
"I say to the lads, it's almost like going to the first day of senior school from a junior school.
"It's a different kind of situation. League One football is a men's game, but international football is a different game and played in a different way.
"So I have to be pleased with them, and I am pleased with them."