Brent Hills was pleased with the determination of his young side, despite losing 2-0 to Norway.
Norway 2-0 England Women Under-23
International Under-23 Friendly
Wednesday 14 February 2007
With three senior internationals next month as preparations for the Women's World Cup continue in earnest, Hope Powell and Brent Hills have been running the rule this week over their younger players.
A week of warm weather training in La Manga has been augmented by two U23 internationals against Norway and France, with all 18 players assured of some game time.
The carrot for all players is a potential place on the plane to China in September, with a number of Hills' squad having already been capped at senior level.
Wednesday afternoon saw The Three Lions go down to a 2-0 defeat against Norway but the team have a chance to put things right when France are the opponents on Friday.
Talking to TheFA.com, Brent explained that his young side were slow out the blocks but had come back strongly.
"The Norwegians play a high-tempo pressing game and we struggled to deal with that in the first half.
"We conceded two disappointing goals, the first when we failed to clear the ball and the second when a loose ball put one of their players in on goal.
"The average age of our squad is only 19 and a half so at this level we have a lot of inexperienced players, but in the second half we acquitted ourselves much better and the younger players who came on more than held their own."
In Chelsea striker Ellen White, who came on as a second half sub, Hills has a striker who is tall, strong and quick, a build which there is currently a dearth of in the women's game.
"Ellen is only 17 and has come through the ranks and for players like her, these games are about preparing for future tournaments, such as potentially the forthcoming U19 Euro qualifers.
"For others, like Emily Westwood and Jo Potter who have played for the seniors but been out with injuries, these games give them a chance to get match sharp and impress ahead of the games in March and May, and Woody again looked very composed at the back, in what is still an unfamiliar position to her."
England nearly pulled a goal back early in the second half through Everton's Kelly McDougall. Another player who has featured at senior level, she hit an audacious half volley from the halfway line that hit the bar, much to the relief of the Norwegian 'keeper.
"Today's game against France will be another good test" added Brent. "There is very little between the sides at all age groups and after a positive week together, the players have another chance to put some of what they've learnt his week on the training ground into a game.
"As always as Coaches and players you want to get results, but if we can help some more of these players continue their development as international players too, the week will have been invaluable."