U20s Coach delighted with his team's organisation against Italy.
England 2-0 Italy
7pm, Tuesday 31 March 2009,
Loftus Road, Queens Park Rangers
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Noel Blake took charge of England U20s last night as they began their preparations for September’s World Cup with an impressive victory against Italy.
Goals from captain Ciaran Clark and Daniel Sturridge in the first half proved enough, but the margin could have been bigger as the Lions created further opportunities in the second half.
However, Blake felt it was his side’s performance in the opening stages when Italy looked the more dangerous which provided them with a platform to build upon.
“They pressed us quite high early on and we expected that,” said Blake, who will be Assistant Coach to Brian Eastick when the World Cup comes around.
“We felt that they’d come at us early on and we felt that was where the game was won.
“Having seen that quick start from them off, from there we got into the game, started passing the ball and working a bit harder.”
The deadlock was broken courtesy of Clark, who got on the end of a pacy corner from Marc Albrighton to head the Lions ahead before Sturridge showed his predatory instincts in the box to make it 2-0.
“We really emphasised to the lads this week that set-plays in international football are critical,” explained Blake.
“We had a couple of good deliveries from Marc Albrighton and Josh Walker and if that’s the case, then you’ve got a chance but the run has got to be right as well. That’s what we did and capitalised.
“The second goal is what Daniel is all about and we’ve seen him do that for Manchester City’s first team. He’s an out and out goalscorer, but he also has plenty of ability.
“The thing that pleased me personally though was how well we kept the ball. A lot of people say that English teams can’t often retain possession, but I think we showed tonight that we can keep the ball for long spells.”
Blake and the coaching staff also took the opportunity to use all 18 members of the squad as the process of identifying a group of players for the trip to Egypt begins.
“With the World Cup in mind, we don’t know which squad will go at this moment in time, so it gives us an opportunity to look at one or two of the boys,” he added.
“We couldn’t use any of the U19 players tonight, as they played last week, but all of the lads involved tonight didn’t do their chances any harm at all.”England
1 David Button (13 Ben Amos, 46) 2 Javan Vidal, 3 Ryan Bertrand (12 Ben Mee, 76) 4 Josh Walker (14 Adam Clayton, 67) 5 James Tomkins (15 Chris Smalling, 46) 6 Ciaran Clark (c), Marc Albrighton (16 Jack Colback, 79) 8 Kieran Gibbs, 9 Daniel Sturridge (18 Tope Obadeyi, 82) 10 Freddie Sears, 11 Scott Sinclair (17 Junior Stanislas, 65).Substitutes all usedGoals:
Ciaran Clark (20), Daniel Sturridge (30), Italy
1 Carlo Pinsoglio, 2 Matteo Bruscagin, 3 Matteo Gentili (14 Francesco Pambianchi, 75), 4 Michaelangelo Albertazzi (15 Marco Calderoni, 46) 5 Massimiliano Tagliani (c), 6 Silvano Raggio Garibaldi, 7 Marco Augusto Romizi, 8 Andrea Mazzarani, 9 Stefano Okaka Chuca (18 Umberto Eusepi, 46) 10 Guido Marilungo (16 Claudio Della Penna, 46) 11 Mattia Mustacchio.Substitutes not used:
12 Sergio Viotti, 13 Salvatore D’Elia, 14 Francesco Pambianchi, 17 Leandro Antonio Martinez.Officials
Steve TannerAssistant Referees
Stephen Child & Justin ComleyFourth Official