Mansfield Town to host U18 International against Italy in October.
England v Italy
U18 International Match
7.30pm, Wednesday 24 October 2012
The One Call Stadium, Mansfield Town FC
Call 01623 482482 for tickets (£3 for adults and £1 for concessions)
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England U18s face their first game of the new season in October, when they take on Italy at Mansfield Town’s One Call Stadium home.
Head Coach Noel Blake will take charge of the Young Lions again this season, in what is a non-competitive age group sandwiched by UEFA competitions at U17 and U19 level.
Last season’s U17s were unfortunate to miss out on a place in the European Championship Finals, reaching the Elite Round stage but the U18s matches will give many of those players a chance to continue their international education along with any new players who may have emerged to catch the eye this season.
“It’s a massively important age group for us,” revealed Blake.
“We only play two fixtures at this level per season, but it’s an important age group for us because it throws up different situations and allows you to look at some of the late developers in the group along with an opportunity to look at those players from last year’s U17s."
In recent seasons, Blake has introduced the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to international football in his various squads and he insists that the opportunity to earn a call-up is always there.
“The door is always open for players to come in and impress, so the U18s is a chance to look at some fresh faces and in the last few years we have managed to bring a few players through and then into the U19s and beyond,” revealed Blake.
“You only have to look at our U18s two years ago when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came into the system against Poland.
“And in this year’s U19s squad, there are players such as Eric Dier, Jack O’Connell and Jack Stephens who first played in the U18s fixtures last year and are now in the U19s squad.”
England U18s' last fixture was earlier this year when they won 3-0 against Poland at Crewe Alexandra thanks to goals from Jordie Hiwula, Hallam Hope and Matt Lecointe.
Tickets are priced at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions, and can be purchased by calling Mansfield Football Club’s Ticket line on 01623 482 482.