After two wins in two days, Coach Kenny Swain speaks about the Nordic Tournament in Sweden.
England v Norway
The Nordic Tournament
Thursday 31 July 2008
Click here for tournament details
The England U17s have made a perfect start to the Nordic Tournament in Sweden this week with two wins, but Coach Kenny Swain expects an improved performance in their final two games.
The Young Lions beat Finland on Monday and then Iceland on Tuesday, with a single goal proving to be enough on both occasions.
They now face Norway on Thursday in their final group game before facing a play-off clash with either Sweden, Denmark, Faroe Islands or Scotland on Saturday and Swain is looking for the team to step up another gear in those matches.
“We have been quite pleased with the results, but we know we can play better and the boys know they can play better,” Swain told TheFA.com from the team’s base.
“The first two games are usually notoriously erratic because everyone is still familiarising themselves with the team.
“After the second game, everyone will know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and will be that much more familiar.”
With England facing two games in the space of 24 hours too, that made it a little tougher for everyone, with a squad of just 18 players to select from for Swain.
Two players in Oliver Nicholas and James Hurst have had to play the full 90 minutes on two occasions, whilst the rest of the squad have all been involved in both games as either a substitute or from the starting line-up.
However Swain admits that they have handled it well so far, after making full use of the players who now have a day’s break ahead of the Norway game in Strömstad.
“They all have to play a part in it and a lot of them have played in both games now, so we have succeeded in doing that,” he added.
“But there have been a couple of players who have had to see out both games because with 18 players and four games, two or three players may have to see out the best part of four games.
“Those two players who have been involved in the two games have been given a day’s rest today though, so hopefully that will reflect in Thursday’s game.”
The conditions in Sweden have also been particularly hot, making it even tougher for players who are still in the fledgling stages of their football careers.
“It’s been very warm here too so that is an extra challenge for the lads,” explained Swain.
“I think a few of the players have experienced these sort of temperatures in games before with their clubs, but it’s been in the mid-thirties over the last few games.”