Women's U23s Head Coach pleased with performance despite defeat to Germany.
England Women's U23s
Four Nation Tournament
3pm (GMT), Monday 22 February 2010
La Manga, Spain
Despite watching his side narrowly lose to Germany in their opening game of the Four Nation Tournament, the England Women’s U23 Head Coach, Brent Hills, expressed satisfaction with the display he witnessed in La Manga.
An 18th-minute goal from the Germans was enough to seal a 1-0 victory, and Hills believes the game was as close as the scoreline suggests.
England had created chances before falling behind and although they had to weather a period of pressure midway through the first half, they regained composure after the break and controlled possession for large periods, despite not being able to carve out many clear-cut openings.
“It was a really competitive game that could have gone either way,” said Hills. “It was one of those games; two very evenly matched sides and there was always going to be one goal in it. They just happened to take one of their chances and we weren’t able to take any of ours unfortunately. I think our ‘keeper only had to make two saves in the whole game.
“The conditions were very testing,” he added. “It was windy and the pitch was firm but despite that, we try to play football through the thirds at all times so that was pleasing."
Hills is using the Four Nation Tournament to provide eligible players with valuable tournament experience ahead of July’s FIFA Women’s U20 World Cup, as well as offering a platform for all players to impress Hope Powell as they look to work their way into the England Women’s senior squad.
England’s Four Nations campaign continues on Wednesday when they take on Norway and Hills says he is pleased with how the players have conducted themselves so far.
“Providing they deserve to, we will try and make sure everybody plays a substantial amount of football over these three games and I have to say, the girls have been excellent,” explained Hills. “They have trained very well and put in a good shift against Germany and I want to see that continue for the rest of the week.
“I have seen the other two nations play and they are really competitive sides, but we’re looking forward to Norway on Wednesday, which will be a different challenge, of course.”
Hills also had a special mention for Steph Houghton, who continued her rehabilitation from a cruciate anterior ligament injury by playing the final 20 minutes on Monday.
“Steph has missed the last two senior tournaments through injury, but she came on and put in a sound performance for 20-odd minutes and that was pleasing to see. She will get back to full fitness soon, but we’ll treat her very carefully this week."England
1 Ashley Baker, 2 Chelsea Weston (16 Stephanie Houghton, 71), 3 Ellie Gilliatt (17 Sarah Kempson, 21), 4 Remi Allen (14 Natasha Dowie, 71), 5 Fern Whelan, 6 Sophie Bradley (C), 7 Jade Moore, 8 Michelle Hinnigan, 9 Ellen White, 10 Rachel Williams (12 Brooke Chaplen, 46), 11 Dannii BirdSubstitutes not used
13 Carly Telford, 15 Kerys Harrop, 18 Claire Rafferty