Gavin Hoyte believes playing top teams such as Germany can help put the Young Lions amongst the elite.
England v Germany
U19 International Friendly
7.00pm, Tuesday 18 November 2008
Weston Homes Community Stadium, Colchester United FC
The last time Gavin Hoyte lined up against Germany, it ended in defeat and an exit from last year’s U17 World Cup.
Now the Arsenal defender is preparing to face them again as an U19 international, as preparations for the next stage of qualifying for the European Championship begin.
Hoyte has featured in every one of the Young Lions’ games so far this season and is aiming to pick up another cap on Tuesday night in Colchester, but he knows the importance of facing high-class opponents such as the current U19 European Champions, Germany.
“It’s good to play against a team like Germany, because you know what sort of teams we might be coming up against in the next round of the qualifiers,” revealed the 18-year-old.
“To play against the best teams is good, as you can’t just keep playing against the lower sides. You need to play the best teams you can, in order to maintain your standards.”
Brian Eastick’s team came through the first stage of qualifying for this season’s Championship Finals last month when they emerged second out of a group that also contained Serbia, Northern Ireland and Albania.
They now head into the Elite Qualifying Round which will see England drawn into another quartet in early December and then take part next spring, only this time it will be just the group winners who progress into next summer’s Finals in Ukraine.
“There is a lot more competition and we know that every team we play against is going to be hard now,” explained Hoyte.
“You can’t think of trying to draw this one and win the others. You have to try and win the first game and all of them from there.
“You learn how different it is at international level to playing for your club. It’s much quicker and there are more players that have probably played in the first team for their clubs.”
Having played for England at U17 and U18 level, Hoyte has already had a considerable taste of international football for one so young.
And he is now getting an introduction at club level, where he has been part of Arsenal’s much vaunted ‘Carling Cup team’.
East London-born Hoyte has started both of the Gunners’ games in the competition this season, against Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic, and both were won comfortably to win many plaudits in the process.
With the team having an average age of only 19 and including other U19 internationals in Henri Lansbury and Rhys Murphy, it certainly bodes well and Hoyte is optimistic for the future.
“We’ve got a few players in there who have all played, so it shows that we’re all doing well and that there are good English players at Arsenal who are playing for their country and performing,” he explained.
“There are a few of our players in the younger age groups too. Banik Afobe scored the winner for the U16s recently, so there are good English players throughout coming from Arsenal.”
||West Ham United|
* Withdrawn injured and replaced by Alex Smithies of Huddersfield Town.