Our insider blog, as England U19s arrive in Estonia for the Euro Finals.
By Nicholas Veevers in Estonia
The England U19s squad arrived at their Euro base in Tallinn on Saturday evening, after a day of travelling and with a fully fit complement of 18 players in the group, attentions will now turn to Tuesday’s opening group game with Croatia.
Noel Blake’s squad have been together since Monday, taking advantage of the excellent facilities at Spurs Lodge last week to begin their preparations for the Finals before transferring to Estonia in plenty of time before the competition starts.
At the moment, the sizeable Meriton Grand Conference and Spa Hotel in central Tallinn is a relatively quiet place, with only France, Portugal, Greece and England here so far and another four teams still to arrive.
I’m sure it won’t be too long before we’re joined by the other nations, but it will be a fairly new experience to have all eight competing teams under the same roof. Usually UEFA Finals like this see three or four squads share one hotel but with Serbia, Croatia, Spain and hosts Estonia still to arrive, it should make for an interesting and vibrant atmosphere around the place once things get properly kicked-off next week.
In terms of England themselves, Head Coach Blake has been very happy with the way his players have trained in the build-up, coming straight to the meet-up from their summer breaks with most English clubs still to return for their pre-season training.
That has meant Exercise Scientist Matt Greig taking the players through some pretty intensive training over the last five days before Blake has taken over for the more technical side of things with the first three group games in mind.
After an early start to Saturday, with the freshly-suited group leaving the hotel in Essex at 7am, before flying to Frankfurt and then onto Tallinn, England’s first training session out here will be on Sunday after a good night’s rest and then the first game is quickly upon us.
Otherwise, Blake was interviewed on Friday by a number of national journalists and by Sky Sports News and FATV at the training base, along with Harry Kane and Eric Dier, so keep an eye out for features in the national press over the next few days featuring them as they build-up to the Finals.
I’ll be tweeting from Estonia throughout the competition on @thefadotcom and @NVivas79 so be sure to follow and keep in touch with what’s going on.
Otherwise, I'll be back with another blog ahead of the first game against Croatia.