Blake: 'Good preparation'
By Nicholas Veevers
Wednesday, 05 October, 2011
Head Coach says all of his players will learn from French Tournament.
England U19s Head Coach Noel Blake takes his team into action on Wednesday evening when they face France in a Four Nations Tournament in Limoges.
The Young Lions would normally be preparing for European Championship Qualifiers at this time of year, but having been given a bye straight to the Elite Qualifying Round this season, they are now in eastern France for what will be a testing set of fixtures.
Alongside the host nation and England are fellow seeded teams Ukraine and Portugal who all face each other over the course of the next five days, so Blake knows that all three games will be a firm test for his side.
"There are four good teams in the competition, so it will be a real test for the lads and as I constantly tell people, there are no easy games at international level anymore, especially when all three of the other nations are at the level as these teams," Blake told TheFA.com ahead of the opening game.
"It will be good preparation for the Elite Round, whenever or wherever they are and all of the players will get a chance to play over the three games, that's why they're here."
After looking at a number of new faces in the 0-0 draw with Holland last month, Blake has again opted to survey his options and there are first-time England call-ups for the likes of Dominic Samuel from Reading, Todd Kane of Chelsea, Middlesbrough 'keeper Connor Ripley and Leeds United schemer Charlie Taylor.
“There are a few fresh faces to look at and work with, so we’ll keep going and working hard with them," he added.
“It’s all about development for the players in preparation for the Elite Round, so we're looking forward to the games and some tough opposition.”