Brian Eastick's side kick-off a big 2009 with a February friendly against Spain at Dean Court.
England v Spain
U19 International Friendly
7pm, Tuesday 10 February 2009
Dean Court, AFC Bournemouth
Ticket Hotline: 01202 726338
Tickets £3 in advance (£5 on gate) adults and £1 children and concessions
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England U19s have another big year on the horizon and it all begins on 10 February when Brian Eastick’s side host Spain at AFC Bournemouth’s Dean Court stadium.
The fixture completes a trio of high-profile friendlies for England, with the Young Lions having defeated both Germany and Holland over the last 12 months.
England’s competitive campaign in 2009 includes European Championship Elite Qualifiers against Slovakia, Bosnia- Herzegovina and Scotland just before the summer with a place at the finals in Ukraine up for grabs.
And the international competition doesn’t stop there for Eastick, who will take an England U20s squad to the World Championship in Egypt later in the year.
But the current England U19 boss is looking forward to seeing his side take on Spain’s talented youngsters before the serious business of Euro qualification kicks off in May. “Make no mistake, this is going to be a very tough game,” said Eastick.
“It will be different to the Germany game, as they’ll be a lot more technical in their play, so it will be a great test for our squad.
“Spain have some top quality players and their youth development is fantastic. You only have to look at their past record in both the European and World Championships to see that,” said Eastick.
England’s 1-0 victory over Germany in November saw a full house at Colchester United and Eastick is relishing another big attendance at Dean Court: “We’ve taken England youth squads to Bournemouth before and they’ve always been good crowds, so I’m sure the game against Spain won’t be any different.
“There’s been a lot of interest in England U19s over the last year or so and we’ve had great crowds at places like Swindon Town, Shrewsbury Town and Colchester United and it’s a real boost for the squad.”
England U19 squad members Danny Welbeck (left) and Nathan Delfouneso have both been involved in the first team setup at Manchester United and Aston Villa respectively and Eastick is delighted to see his side pushing for starts in the Premier League.
“Quite a few of the squad are knocking on the door of the first team at their clubs, which is great news, while others are going on loan to get some experience under their belts.
“Danny Welbeck was on Manchester United’s trip to the World Club Championship in Japan, while Nathan was involved in Villa’s UEFA Cup game against Hamburg recently.
“They’re both highly thought of by their clubs, which is a great positive for both them and England going forward.”
Reflecting on the past year, Eastick commented: “We’re pretty happy with our 2008. We made the Euros in the Czech Republic which was a great achievement and, had we not suffered a few injuries in the lead up to the tournament, we could have made the semi-finals.
“This year will see Stuart Pearce take the Under-21s to Sweden for their Euros and hopefully we can make our Finals in the Ukraine before heading to Egypt for the World Championship.
“It’s going to be an action-packed 2009, that’s for sure."