England meet up on Monday as they prepare for U20s World Cup.
The England Women’s U20s team meet up on Monday as they begin their assault on the World Cup.
Having qualified for the Finals thanks to the European Championship success at U19 level in Belarus a year ago, Mo Marley’s side will head to Germany next week full of confidence.
The squad of 21 features 19 who have already earned big tournament experience in either European competition or the 2008 World Cup in Chile. The UEFA European Women’s U19s title a year ago was sandwiched between a quarter-final spot in Chile, where they lost to eventual winners USA, and this year’s European Championship, where England were losing Finalists.
And as Marley prepares to get her team together next week, she says that their international experience can only have a benefit during the campaign.
“Most of the players have been involved in European or World Finals,” Marley told TheFA.com, “so they’ll have the experience and know what is expected of them in this environment.
“We’re looking at the first task which is our opening game against Nigeria. We’re fortunate to have played against them two years ago in Chile and we’ll be better prepared as a team from those experiences last time around.
“That’s the excitement of playing in a World Cup, playing against teams you wouldn’t regularly play and be able to test yourself against them.”
As well as Nigeria, who the Three Lions meet in Augsburg on 14 July, they also line up in Group C with Mexico and Japan.
The team recently spent a week at a training camp in La Manga, Spain to prepare for the Finals, as Marley explains.
“It was a week where we could train and work on a few things together as a team,” she said.
“We looked at team-building, worked on possession play and defending and also played a behind closed doors training match.
“It allowed us to set down the foundations of our expectations for the players and for what it will take for the team to succeed. You can’t leave it to chance when you get into the competition itself and these things have to be looked at in advance.
“We’ve got a very tough group and we know there are things we have to tune up ready for the matches. We’ll be playing against some of the best teams in the world and will have to make sure our standards are the highest possible when we are out there.
“But we’re trying to master our own strategy at the moment and then we'll look at the research we’ve done on the opposition.”
England will play a final behind closed doors game against Brent Hills’ England Under-23s team on Monday before heading out to their training base in Augsburg on Tuesday.