U19s Head Coach Brian Eastick looks ahead to this month's Elite Round.
UEFA European U19 Championship
Elite Round Qualifying
England, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Scotland, Slovakia
27 May - 1 June 2009
Bradford City, Doncaster Rovers, Sheffield United
Click here for fixture and ticket details
England U19s Head Coach Brian Eastick has spoken of his difficulty at naming an 18-man squad for the Elite Round qualifying games later this month.
The Young Lions face opposition from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovakia and Scotland, knowing that if they finish as top of the group they will progress to the European Championship Finals in Ukraine this July.
However, with a number of players unavailable due to ongoing club commitments and injury, his options have been slightly restricted making it harder to narrow down a final group.
"There was a lot of food for thought behind the selection,” revealed Eastick.
“There is a lot of competition for places now, and it's my responsibility to pick the best 18 players that I think can get us through to the Finals in Ukraine.
"It's been difficult though, because there are a group of players there that are doing quite well at club level now and whilst a group of them are unavailable, we have younger players involved who I feel are good enough to come in and perform.”
Eastick knows that it won’t be easy though, with all three other teams sure to be as determined as England to seal their place in the last eight of this season’s competition.
"It won't be easy, everyone wants to beat England and I don't think anyone will come here and play an open game style, they will come and defend and get numbers behind the ball,” he added.
"So we will need to manipulate the ball and find the spaces to break them down but at the same time, not give anything away at the other end and keep a clean sheet.
"It sounds very boring but if we want to go on and win things at international level, it's very important.”
Eastick also called upon the England supporters in Yorkshire to get behind the team, as home advantage could be crucial for the players.
“Playing at home eliminates having to travel abroad and we will be playing in more familiar surroundings,” he explained.
“Hopefully we will get some good attendances, because the players do appreciate it and it creates a good environment for them to play in.”
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