Young Lions making an impression
Thursday, 04 August, 2011
Kenny Swain delighted with Nordic Tournament campaign so far.
Kenny Swain has praised the way his England U17s have started their Nordic Tournament campaign.
The Young Lions began this annual eight-team competition with a comfortable 4-0 defeat of Faroe Islands on Tuesday before earning a point in a 1-1 against Norway just 24 hours later.
They have one last group game, against Iceland, the host nation, on Friday, before a final match on Sunday against either Sweden, Denmark, Finland or a second Iceland team.
“I’m delighted with the way we have played so far,” said Swain, who is taking charge of this 1995 year group for the final time, before handing over the reins to John Peacock at the end of the month.
“All the players have applied themselves really well and I’m pleased with the way they have performed. In both games we always looked threatening and were always in control from the first minute to the last.”
The quick turnaround in matches has allowed Swain to hand a start to all 18 squad members with only captain Shay Facey, Alastair Gordon, Lewis Baker and Chuba Akpom starting both matches. The Head Coach said he is planning to give each player at least one more start by the end of the tournament before going on to reveal his delight at the number of players eligible for the U17s this season.
“We had to make a few late squad changes before we came out here, but we have been able to call upon other players who have shown the standard that is required to play at this level,” he said.
“When you change the team around you don’t expect to start where you left off, but that’s exactly what happened against Norway. I made seven changes to the team that beat the Faroes and we started very well and kept that momentum going. I actually think the draw flattered Norway a bit. We can count ourselves unlucky with the penalty decision [from which they scored], but as the game wore on you were just expecting us to get the winner.
“We have now managed to have a look at 48 players in this year group and the depth of this particular pool is greater than in recent seasons and we’ve got to pleased with that. It’s probably the most competitive pool of players we’ve had for some years.”
Next up for England is Iceland and Swain is predicting a completely different game to the ones his charges have hitherto had to face.
“The Norway game was more of a technical challenge and the Faroes game was a mental challenge because we had to stay focused, stay disciplined and not get carried away. They were the best Faroe Islands team I’ve seen for quite some time and they did make it very difficult for us, which just shows how well we did. We have passed the two tests so far and there are two more to go.
“Iceland are the host nation and when you play a Scandinavian country on their own soil it is a completely different challenge than playing another British nation away from home. It is going to be tough.”