Blake warns of home influence
By Nicholas Veevers
Wednesday, 26 September, 2012
U19s Head Coach Noel Blake expects partisan crowd in Estonia.
England U19s get their Euro campaign under way on Wednesday afternoon when they face Qualifying Group host nation Estonia in Tallinn.
The Young Lions are one of four nations in their group hoping to progress to the Elite Qualifying Round next spring. They know that they need to finish in the top two if they are to reach the next stage, with Faroe Islands and Ukraine forming the rest of the group.
Head Coach Noel Blake has been together with his squad for the best part of a week now, but says they will not only be facing an Estonian side determined to cause an upset, but also a partisan home crowd.
“Whenever you face the host nation, it’s always very difficult so we know what to expect from the game,” said Blake.
“We just need to concentrate on playing the game itself and not to worry about the surroundings. That’s what we’re geared for and how we want to approach the game.”
Blake has been forced into making a number of changes to the initial squad he selected for the trip east, with six players withdrawn in the lead-up last week.
However, Blake feels there is still enough experience in the 18-man squad to be a challenger in the group.
“We have a bit of experience in the squad, with the likes of Lundstram, Turgott, Pickford and Hope who have played in European qualifiers and World Cups before,” he added.
“It’s a squad that we expect to do well, because of the quality that we’ve got in the group.”