By Nicholas Veevers
Saturday, 26 May, 2012
England U19s Head Coach has his squad ready for Montenegro at Spotland on Sunday.
England U19s face their second game of the Elite Qualifying Round on Sunday evening and it could be a crucial one with both the Young Lions and Montenegro going into the match one the back of opening game wins and now battling for supremacy in Group Two.
Only one team from the four nations involved in Lancashire this week can progress to July’s European Championship Finals, so if there’s a winner on Sunday, they would go into Wednesday’s final round of games with a firm advantage and chance of progressing.
Montenegro beat Switzerland by 3-0 at Spotland on Friday afternoon before England’s 5-0 victory over Slovenia a few hours later put Noel Blake’s side top of the table by virtue of goal difference.
Now the nations come face-to-face at Spotland and Blake knows that what happened in the first games two days ago is now insignificant.
“This is tournament football, the first game is done and we move straight onto the next one,” he said.
“What happened on Friday is now irrelevant and we have a tough game against Montenegro to prepare for and the players are fully aware of that.
“Competitive tournament football at this level is so demanding and it’s a very good test for our young players.”
Ironically, at the Elite Round stage last year, Blake’s side met both Montenegro and Switzerland and picked up victories in both of those games.
Harry Kane scored the winner when they last played Montenegro and with the Spurs man in Blake’s squad again this time around, everyone would no doubt settle for a similar outcome.
“I had a look at Montenegro’s first game myself as soon as we got back to the hotel on Friday and we’ve assessed the scouting reports, so the focus has been on this game pretty much since the final whistle at Deepdale,” he added.
“This is our only game at Rochdale, so hopefully we will have plenty of support there as that’s something which the lads appreciated on Friday and is always a big boost to them.”
Tickets for the game at Spotland cost just £3 for adults and £1 for concessions and are available on the evening. Kick-off at 7.30pm.