Head Coach Noel Blake happy with squad selection ahead of Finals.
UEFA European U19 Championships
18-30 July 2010
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By Nicholas Veevers
Next week sees the England U19 squad link up in Warwick, as they begin preparations for the European Championship Finals in northern France.
Head Coach Noel Blake selected his squad for the competition earlier this week, and the 18 players will join up on Monday to have three days of training on English shores before heading to Normandy on Thursday.
And Blake admits he is pleased with the players he’s got at his disposal for the Finals, considering the likes of Jack Wilshere, Jack Rodwell and Phil Jones are all unavailable for U19 duty with September’s Under-21 matches looming on the horizon.
“It’s a good group of players that we’ve got and it’s a group that we’re looking forward to working with,” said Blake.
“The lads we wanted, we have managed to get, so I’m pleased with the squad and we’re looking forward to it.”
England progressed through two qualifying rounds over the course of last season to secure their place in the final eight, with the vast majority of the squad selected having played a part throughout.
They now get their chance to perform on a bigger stage, all three of England’s Group A games are being screened live on Eurosport, so it’s an opportunity that Blake feels they all deserve.
“It’s the next progression,” he added. “They’ve all been involved in qualifying, so they’re the ones that are going to the Finals.
“We will work with them over the next week and then see where that takes us.”
The Young Lions also head across the Channel knowing that there is experience within the ranks from last year’s competition, when the U19s reached the Final only to lose against hosts Ukraine.
The likes of Matthew James, Declan Rudd, Matthew Briggs and Nathan Delfouneso were all part of that squad, so their collective experience can only serve as a help to the other players this time around.
“Experience definitely helps and obviously we had six under-age lads last year and most of them are coming along again, aside from big Nile Ranger who is injured,” added Blake.
“The boys who are in there again made a good contribution last year and we’re looking forward to them leading the group this year.”FATV will be at the camp next week to film training and get interviews with Blake and some of the key players so make sure you check back for that.