England U20s Head Coach speaks about his World Cup hopes after Monday's draw in Turkey
By Nicholas Veevers
Peter Taylor is hoping his experience and contacts in the game can help England U20s enjoy a successful World Cup this summer.
The new U20s Head Coach was in Turkey for Monday’s World Cup draw, which saw England grouped with Chile, Iraq and the African champions, who will be confirmed this weekend.
Taylor believes that any player who is lucky enough to experience playing at the U20 World Cup this summer will return to their club much better for it.
The likes of Diego Maradona, Michael Owen, Luis Figo, Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry and Andres Iniesta have all played in the U20 World Cup in their careers.
And after witnessing the draw and hype around what FIFA class as their second-biggest tournament, Taylor can’t wait to take charge in Turkey.
He told TheFA.com: “You only have to look at the amount of players that have played in the U20 World Cup in the past – it is mind blowing.
“With the likes of Maradona having played in it, you cannot believe the amount of players who started their international careers in this competition.
“That’s how big it is and anybody who comes here will go back a better player.”
With 24 nations in the competition having all come through tough qualifying campaigns from their regions, there is never going to be an easy draw.
But Taylor was happy to see his side selected in Group E, which will be based in the coastal resort of Antalya.
He added: “We’re pleased about where we’re going to be based.
“Antalya is where we wanted to be, as we know the training camp there and we’re very pleased with that.
“As with any team in this competition, you’re never sure how strong they’re going to be but we’re expecting three very tough opponents.
“So we’ve got to make sure that we prepare as well as we can do to make us a decent outfit.”
Taylor is currently working in the Netherlands with FC Twente and has had a spell coaching the Middle East with the Bahrain team.
And that experience could come in useful as England face Iraq in their first game on Sunday 23 June.
He explained: “I know a little bit about them having been out in Bahrain for 16 months and we played against Iraq at senior level, but both of the teams were quite young.
“Most of the nations involved are improving and established countries, so you’re probably never going to know until the tournament exactly how strong the opposition is.
“The most important thing we can do now is to do our homework and look into as many teams as best we can and then go from there.”
The preparation for the trip is already underway and Taylor will be putting the miles in throughout April and May as he looks to select his squad.
With England Under-21s already in their own Euro Finals in Israel during early June and the potential for the U19s to qualify for their Euros in July, it could be a busy summer for the Three Lions.
And Taylor is hoping he can see as many of the players and club managers concerned ahead of his squad selection.
“I’m still working in Holland until early April and when I come back, I’ve got meetings at Wembley regarding what the squad might be,” he added.
“And then it’s a case of me trying to get around the managers and the players and trying to see as many as I can.
“I’m hoping to try and take liberties with some of the managers that I’ve got good relationships with and I’m hoping that we’re going to have a strong squad for the competition.”