Lois Fidler is looking ahead to UEFA's inaugural European Championship qualifiers.
UEFA European U17 Women's Championship
First Qualifying Round, Georgia
27 October - 1 November
England Women's U17s kick off qualification for the inaugural UEFA European U17 Women's Championship this Saturday, with Head Coach Lois Fidler admitting that this will be an exciting new
experience for her players.
Forty teams are chasing 16 second qualifying round places which leads to a four-team final tournament next May. The winners plus the six second-placed teams with the best record against nations finishing first and third in their pools will progress to the second qualifying round in Spring.
With results dicatating whether her squad will progress to the latter stages of the competition - with the ultimate carrot being qualification for the 2008 FIFA U17 World Cup in New Zealand - Lois will be monitoring her players' response.
Having won a six-nation tournament in Finland in May, as well as playing friendlies against Finland and Denmark earlier this year too, England's players will not be going into the qualifiers underprepared.
"In terms of player development, there is nothing better than tournament football" Lois told TheFA.com. "The majority of the players have played a number of games at this level already, but now that the games will carry points for results, we'll be looking to see whether they've taken certain lessons on board."
"How will the players respond to the 'coached environment, how will they cope being away from home? These are issues we look at closely as players all develop at different speeds. Some players are slow burners, whilst others peak and then hit a plateau at maybe 18 or 19, so we're monitoring a range of factors all the time."
The Eastern European trio of Georgia, Slovakia and Russia will face England, with Lois admitting that the former are somewhat unknown quantities. However, Russia were beaten 4-0 in the Easter Tournament, with goals from Toni Duggan, Sarah Wiltshire and Chelsea Weston.
For the curious football fan, TheFA.com asked Lois what qualities her coaching team look for when selecting players at this early stage of their international careers.
"A player at 16 or 17 can be technically talented, but the question is whether they can maintain a consistency over 80 minutes, for three matches.
"We're also looking for a player's understanding of their role within the team; their understanding of team shape and organisation, for guile and athleticism as well as their resolve and strength of character.
"The players all know that international football is a step up, and some players rise to the occasion, whilst others need more support to get there. Just like in the men's game, not all these players may go on to play for the senior team, but we'll give them every encouragement we can to help them realise their potential, at whatever level that may eventually be."
TheFA.com will keep you updated on England's progress in Georgia, starting this weekend against the hosts.
Amy Carr (Arsenal), Juliana Draycott
Lucy Bronze (Sunderland), Naomi Cole (Arsenal), Sahara Osbourne Ricketts (Reading), Stephanie Marsh (Everton), Jemma Rose (Plymouth)
Isobele Christiansen (Everton), Laura Coombs (Arsenal), Rachael Daly (Leeds United), Jess Holbrook (Everton), Jordan Nobbs (Middesbrough) Natalie Crinean (West Ham), Jade Foremaston (Coventry City), Rebecca Jane (Chelsea), Rachael Pitman (Bristol Academy),
Demi Stokes (Sunderland), Sarah Wiltshire (Arsenal)
Saturday 27 October
15:00 (local time) England v Georgia - Mikheil Meskhi Stadium (Tbilisi)
Monday 29 October
15:00 - England v Slovakia - Mikheil Meskhi Stadium (Tbilisi)
Thursday 1 November
15:00 - England v Russia - Poladi Stadium (Rustavi)