Hills salutes Lions' resolve
Friday, 01 October, 2010
Head Coach happy to have come from a goal down to beat Germany.
by Glenn Lavery
England Women’s U23 Head Coach Brent Hills paid tribute to his side’s character after they came from a goal down to beat Germany 2-1 in Leicestershire.
The Three Lions fell behind to Stefanie Mirlach’s 21st-minute strike, but Michelle Hinnigan equalised on the stroke of half-time with a 25-yard free-kick and Claire Rafferty poked home the winner six minutes from the end to hand England a notable scalp.
“I’m always pleased when we come back from 1-0 down because that shows a lot of character,” said Hills. “In international football, it’s not often that that happens, although the big three nations in women’s football are able to do that regularly, so that’s a good thing for us.
“We had ambitions before the game, which were to make sure as many people, if not everyone, played significant minutes, and we’ve done that.
“Germany are always a classy act with some very decent players and I was very happy with how we played against them.”
However, despite his delight at the victory and mental strength shown by his charges, with many of the U23s on the fringes of Hope Powell’s senior set-up - and with the Women’s World Cup just nine months away - he believes there is still room for improvement if his players are to make that step up.
“Yes, they’ve done OK, and I’m sure they will be happy with beating Germany, but they are really here to show me and Hope that they’ve got the potential to one day play for the senior team,” he said.
“All the girls have got their sights set on senior international football and while they have got the quality, they still need to improve in terms of the quality of their play, if they are to oust the current senior team players.
“A number of players have acquitted themselves very well and it means more competition for places, which is what we want. We want two players – minimum – for every position.
“There are nine months to go till the World Cup which isn’t a lot of time [to impress] but it’s been done before, with the likes of Alex Scott, but they are going to have to really work hard. The door’s open though; Hope has always shown that if players are good enough, she’ll pick them.”