Blake's take on Turkey test
Monday, 16 November, 2009
U19s Head Coach looking for his team to keep improving.
England U19s Head Coach Noel Blake has led his team to four wins so far this season, but knows he can expect even more from his players as they approach 2010 and the second half of the campaign.
The Young Lions emerged from their European U19 Championship First Qualifying Round group with a 100 per cent record last month to head into December's Elite Round draw as a seeded team, but before that they face a Turkey team on Tuesday who Blake believes will provide stern opposition.
“Having already played four matches this season; I believe Tuesday’s game will prove to be our severest test, but one that our players are looking forward to," said Blake.
“We know that Turkey are capable of having long spells of possession, and it’s what we do during those spells that will be critical.
“Turkey possess some very good individual players at this level and will also play with a strong team ethic. They have recently secured qualification for the Elite Rounds from a tough group, which included Germany so we know they’ll be decent.”
As for his own charges, Blake refuses to settle for anything less than the best and despite his team’s impressive start to the season, no-one in the squad will be able to rest on their laurels in what is England’s final home game of 2009 at all levels.
“To win three matches in a qualifying tournament at any stage is a great effort from the players,” admitted Blake.
“However, as well as they did in Slovenia, there are certain areas in which I will be looking for the squad to improve on in the next few games.
“We need to improve our discipline and patience when the opposition are having long periods of possession.
“We must learn to be more composed both in and out of possession and not be in too much of a hurry to get the ball up to the front players as soon as we’ve regained possession.
“I am looking for us to be more clinical in the final third and make more of the opportunities that we create. We have to capitalise on them, because you don’t get too many at international level.
“Our ball retention was quite good in Slovenia, but that is also an area I feel we can still improve on.
“I believe we possess some very good technical players, but they must learn to be more consistent with their performances at this level.”
You can read more of Blakes's thoughts in the programme for the game. Buy your copy right now, by clicking here.
And remember, tickets to watch this match are FREE. Call 0871 221 1889 now to make sure you’re there.