Blake ready for Amex
By Nicholas Veevers
Thursday, 10 November, 2011
Head Coach looking forward to game at Brighton's new home.
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England U19s Head Coach Noel Blake takes his squad into their first home game of the campaign on Thursday night and with a packed Amex Stadium lying in wait for them, he feels it’s the perfect preparation for what will hopefully lie in wait for the players in future years.
A number of this year group have already progressed into the Under-21 squad and there could be three players on show in Brighton who have already won caps with Stuart Pearce’s team in the shape of Jon Flanagan, Ross Barkley and Andre Wisdom.
With this also being the squad’s debut on English shores as U19s, it’s certainly a fixture which Blake and his squad have been anticipating after four games abroad so far.
“The lads have been looking forward to it for a while,” admitted Blake.
“We heard about the potential attendance a couple of weeks ago and it’s similar to the U19s game we had at Chesterfield earlier this year and also at Colchester a couple of years ago.
“They’ve all been well supported and The FA, the National Coaches and the players all appreciate it.”
Blake also believes they will have a tough test on the south coast with Denmark being the opposition and also a side preparing for next year’s UEFA Elite Qualifying Round games.
“At all levels, there is never an easy international football match and every nation you play against from Scandinavia is never easy so we expect a tough game,” he added.
“Their U17s did very well last season and got to the Semi-Final of the Euros in the summer and then went to the World Cup Finals, as we did so they have good players.
“But Denmark have always produced top international players down the years, they’re competitive but also very good footballers and a good footballing nation.
“We know it will be a difficult fixture for us, but we’re looking to continue the international development of these players both individually and collectively.”
Blake also spoke of his delight at seeing Brighton & Hove Albion’s new home in all its splendour and is now keen to savour the atmosphere created on Thursday night.
“I’m more than aware of what it means to the area,” he said.
“I played just down the road at Portsmouth for four years and I know about the football history down here and it’s a vibrant area.
“People think because it’s a seaside town that isn’t the case, but I know and I’m very good friends with the likes of big Steve Foster and Terry Connor so I know the area and what football means to people.
“So it will be good to go to the new stadium and I think it’s good for football in general that they’ve finally got the stadium and also for the supporters as well.
“We will really appreciate everyone coming along to support us.”