'A severe test'
Tuesday, 08 February, 2011
Noel Blake feels tonight's game with Germany is ideal preparation.
by Nicholas Veevers
Noel Blake takes his side into action tonight expecting a thorough test of England’s credentials.
The Young Lions take on Germany in what is their final preparation game for May’s UEFA Elite Qualifying Round games in Switzerland.
And Blake believes Ralf Minge’s German side will be the ideal preparation, given that May’s games see England up against the likes of Spain, Switzerland and Montenegro in the battle for a place in the Finals.
“It will be our fifth match of the season and I expect it to be our severest test to date,” admitted Blake, whose team will play in front of a sell-out crowd in Chesterfield.
“I fully expect Germany to be a very good team, and display all the things you would come to expect from a German team. They will have some quality players in their squad, players who are technically good and gifted.”
After taking charge of the England U18 team last November, Blake has also decided to promote a number of the players involved on that night so it is a young team that is being sent into action but one that isn’t without talent.
“We have some excellent players in my opinion and they should be confident with their ability,” added Blake.
“In this group, we have a number of U18s in the squad, most of who were in last season’s successful U17’s European Championship winning squad.
“We decided to elevate a number of them early on, but now we face bigger test such as Germany and it will interesting to see how our boys cope with giving away a couple of years and in many cases a lot of maturity and physicality.
“This has been a difficult squad to select, because of a number of factors and the quality of players in both the U18s and U19s. The depth and quality of players in these two age groups is very good at the moment, and these are the sort of problems we want to have.”
You can read more from Noel in the official match programme for the game, which can be ordered here.