Blake: 'Good contributions'
Friday, 02 September, 2011
Head Coach happy with all of his players after Dutch draw.
By Nicholas Veevers
England U19s Head Coach Noel Blake saw his team come through their first appearance of the new season unscathed as they put in an impressive performance against Holland on Thursday evening.
The Young Lions could even have come back home with a victory too, as Harry Kane’s first-half shot hit a post which turned out to be the closest that either side came to scoring on the night.
At this stage of the campaign though, it’s not about results for Blake and he was just satisfied with the way his team performed over the 90 minutes.
“I was very much pleased with the performance, we played very well tonight,” he said.
“We started the game brightly and did very well in the first half. From my point of view, we shaded the first half and were the better team.
“We passed the ball well from defence and through the midfield and there were some good individual performances as well.
“We hit the post through Harry Kane, so could have been ahead at the break but for the first game of the season and against a team like Holland, I was happy.”
Blake took the opportunity in the second half to cast his eye over the full squad and he made a number of changes, which he admits gave Holland a bit more impetus in the game.
“As you would expect, the Dutch came back a bit stronger in the second half and we had made a few changes too,” he added.
“But we kept going and kept a clean sheet which is always pleasing and everyone in the squad has made a good contribution to the game so they can be pleased with themselves on that count.
“It was the first England game for a while for a couple of them and of course we had the three new lads (Adam Reach, Larnell Cole and Jack Sampson) involved for the first time too and they can all be happy with their contributions.”
With England having received a bye straight to the European Elite Qualifying Round, Blake’s team don’t have any competitive matches until next year when they would normally be preparing for the First Qualifying Round in October, so he will be taking the chance to prepare his players further with a trip across the channel to France instead.
“We now have a four-team tournament coming up in France in October, with ourselves, France, Portugal and Ukraine so that’s the next thing to look forward to,” he revealed.
“There are a few fresh faces to look at and work with, so we’ll keep going and working hard with them.
“It’s all about development for the players in preparation for the Elite Round, whenever or wherever that might be next year.”