Head Coach Kenny Swain is excited by the new-look schedule for England U16s
England U16s v Wales U16s
The Sky Sports Victory Shield
7.35pm, Friday 4 October 2013
Aggborough Stadium, Kidderminster Harriers FC
Live on Sky Sports
Click here for fixtures
believes this season is going to be an exciting one for England U16s, with a new programme being introduced to give more international experience to the stars of the future.
The Young Lions get their Victory Shield campaign underway on Friday evening when they face Wales at Kidderminster’s Aggborough Stadium.
And that’s the just the start to a busy season which will see two new tournaments added to the fixture list for the U16s.
In December, Swain will take a squad to the USA to face matches with the hosts, Brazil and Portugal before St. George’s Park
will stage games with Spain, Belgium and Denmark in February.
“This is the start of what promises to be an exciting new season for the U16s, with an increased programme in place for us,” revealed Swain.
“We have the three Victory Shield games first and then quickly after that, just before Christmas, we have been invited to the USA for a tournament against Brazil, USA and Portugal.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to play against those sort of nations, particularly Brazil and USA as we regularly play Portugal at youth level here in Europe.
“We have also been invited by UEFA to join an U16 development tournament which will see Spain, Denmark and Belgium coming to England for three games early next year.
“Then there is the Montaigu Tournament in France to look forward to at Easter, so it really brings the U16s into a more challenging environment for the players who need it.”
Swain says that the number of players challenging for a spot in his U16s group has increased over the last few years, which has led to a need for more game opportunities.
And the U16s Head Coach paid tribute to Director Of Elite Development Dan Ashworth and Director Of Football Development Sir Trevor Brooking for recognising this.
“Over the last four or five years, the number of players challenging for a place in the squad has increased and there are now more players threatening to get into the squad than ever before,” he added.
“This year, we’ve got around 50 players to look at, whereas in the past it has been closer to 30.
“As a result, the opportunities to give all of these players time on the pitch is becoming more difficult so with that, comes a fantastic opportunity for us to extend the programme and therefore the opportunities for players.
“We need to challenge our best players more on the international stage and give more opportunities to the players who are really threatening to get into the squad.
“When you have 50-odd players, the opportunities are very limited but now they are going to get more game-time and opportunities which can only enhance the players’ experience and our ability to monitor their progress.
“It’s going to be a really exciting year and it’s with gratitude that we can thank Sir Trevor Brooking and Dan Ashworth in our Football Development department, Club England and The FA Youth Committee for recognising the need to offer more opportunities to our players.”
England’s game with Wales on Friday evening kicks-off at 7.35pm and is being shown live on Sky Sports.
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