England C Manager Paul Fairclough picks his squad for ICT game in Belgium.
England C Manager Paul Fairclough has named a 16-man squad for the vital International Challenge Trophy Group A fixture in Belgium next month.
The match will be played at the Gemeentalijk Sportstadion in Zaventem on 12 September and the squad includes three new faces in Stockport’s Ian Ormson, Aswad Thomas of Grimsby Town and Josh Gilles of Gateshead. The squad also welcomes back Sam Hatton, who made his debut with AFC Wimbledon and is now with Grimsby Town.
Following a home draw with Italy and a 4-0 defeat against Russia in Moscow earlier this year, Fairclough knows that nothing short of a victory in Zaventem will suffice for the team to stand a chance of progressing to the Semi-Finals and even then, their chances could be scuppered if Italy pull off a win against Russia in November.
Fairclough is aware of the task ahead, commenting: "This fixture following our result in Moscow highlights the complexity of managing the England C side. After a very creditable and exciting performance against Italy in February, I was faced with mass unavailability due to a series of valid reasons for the trip to Moscow indeed, only two players who started against Italy started the fixture against Russia.
"This Tournament has grown in status and is now being recognised by several nations as an ideal tournament for their International Development squads. This means we face opposition with serious credentials who have been together, in some cases, for a number of years. So it remains a fantastic challenge for all of us; my staff, scouts, and players. The defeat in Russia hurt, and that won't do any of us any harm. For the past few years we have been top dog, now we have to get better and more clever.
"My thoughts throughout the summer have been firmly focused on the game against Belgium, as they say it is a "must win" scenario. Generally, we have a good record against them and we will be well prepared. Whilst in Russia, I used the time to network and have made contact with a company who will provide feedback from the recent Russia v Belgium match.
"The Russians recorded a similar 4-0 victory over the Belgians, which has secured them a semi-final berth from our Group but there remains everything to play for between ourselves, Belgium and Italy with each having a chance to make the last four.
"My scouts have been trawling the pre-season fixtures and are now locked into Conference and some lower league fixtures. I've already seen a few interesting new players however, this is not a selection I can get wrong, so much depends on getting the right result."
The recent success of Team GB in the Olympics has not been lost on Fairclough either: "Watching our Olympians perform so magnificently has inspired millions. I am one of those and can't wait to pick-up the baton and get out to Belgium."
Preston Edwards (Ebbsfleet United), Ian Ormson (Stockport County), Sam Hatton, Aswad Thomas (both Grimsby Town), Jamie Turley, Eddie Oshodi (both Forest Green Rovers). Simon Ainge (Guiseley), Lindon Meikle (Mansfield Town), Josh Gilles (Gateshead), Stephen Brogan (Guiseley), Keiron Forbes (Forest Green Rovers), James Vincent (Kidderminster Harriers), Kenny Davis (Braintree Town), Scott Spencer (Hyde), Andre Gray (Luton Town), Josh Wilson (Guiseley).
Following the match in Belgium, the side will break new ground with a visit to Albania in October.