Blake's 'selection headaches'
By Nicholas Veevers
Tuesday, 13 November, 2012
Noel Blake says his squad have a chance to impress in Telford on Tuesday
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Noel Blake says his U19 charges have another chance to make a good impression against Finland on Tuesday, as they play their final game of 2012 ahead of a big year for England.
With the U19 Elite Qualifying Round to come in May and hopefully the Euro U19 Finals after that, there are also tournaments for the U20s and Under-21s this summer which means there will be opportunities for English players to gain some important international experiences.
And Head Coach Blake knows that he has plenty of players at his disposal and champing at the bit following their performances in the First Qualifying Round in September and October
He said: "I took a very different squad to Estonia for the qualifiers at the end of September, and I was delighted with the application, work ethic and quality of football that the squad displayed in winning the group over three games with Estonia, Faroe Islands and Ukraine.
"For one reason or another, 15 to 20 players that I would have selected were unavailable for selection, but those who came in took their opportunities and did the country proud both on and off the field.
"The lads who came in have now given me a real headache and that’s exactly how it should be. Those players who were pulled out by their respective clubs will find it harder to get back into the squad now."
Blake, who is also Head Coach of the U18s and saw them beat Italy by 3-0 last month, has included some of the squad from that game for the clash at the New Bucks Head Stadium in Telford.
And with the chance to shine in front of a home crowd, Blake is keen to see a repeat of those displays in Estonia played out in front of a home crowd.
"Life is about opportunities in a lot of respects and those who wore the England shirt in Estonia did so with pride and passion, as well as demonstrating very good technical and tactical ability," he added.
"So as far as I am concerned they deserve to do so again at some stage and if it has to be in place of some of those who were unavailable to travel to Estonia, then so be it."