Our insider blogs from the camp as kick-off draws near in the Euro U19 Finals.
By Nicholas Veevers in Estonia
After eight days of preparing, the moment for which we've been waiting is finally upon us, as Tuesday afternoon sees England U19s begin their European Championship campaign with a match against Croatia in Tallinn.
It's quite clear from just observing training that the players are all itching to get started and with a fully fit squad to select from, Head Coach Noel Blake now wants to see his players take their form from the training pitch into the heat of a competitive game.
Make no mistake, as Blake has consistently said throughout the campaign, there will not be an easy game for anyone in this competition. The fierce qualification process alone ensures that, and Croatia will provide a spirited, resilient and dangerous opponent.
This is the moment that everyone here is anticipating though, you can sense that from all eight competing nations going about their business quietly around the hotel and it's after the opening match that the operation really swings into play, with games flowing nicely into each other every three days all the way until the Final on 15 July.
An opening day win can be so important, as any of the coaches will tell you and one victory in the group stage should be enough to firstly secure qualification for next year's FIFA U20 World Cup in Turkey, which is one of Blake's aims from this tournament.
The coaches of all eight nations spoke at the official UEFA pre-tournament press conference on Monday and whilst no-one gave too much away, Blake is certainly happy with the experience of the group of players he has brought here.
All of them apart from Eric Dier, Michael Keane, Connor Ripley, Harry Kane and Eric Dier have experienced tournament Finals such as this already in their short careers, whether that be European Championships Finals at U17 level or the U17 World Cup last year and it is experience gained from these situations which the likes of Blake and Director Of Football Development Sir Trevor Brooking are so keen for our players to experience before moving into more senior football with the Under-21s and Senior team.
At times, it hasn't been easy securing player release from the clubs over the years but on this occasion, Blake has been able to select a squad with no withdrawals and is confident in his side's ability, as you may have heard back home in the interviews he's done with both TalkSport and BBC FiveLive's Monday Night Club.
You only have to look at the example of Danny Welbeck to see why it's considered so important for our elite young players. He featured in the European U17 Championship Finals, the U17 World Cup Finals, the U19 Euro Finals and the Under-21 Euro Finals before he seemlessly slipped into this summer's senior European Championship. It's no co-incidence that the Manchester United man looked so at ease with the situations, scenarios and pressure brought on by a tournament like that, as he had developed the experience in his formative years with England's development teams.
Even more encouraging for England is the fact that in the UEFA European U19 Championship history, since its origin in 2002, only Spain have reached this stage, the last eight, more than England. On seven occasions, the Young Lions have reached the Finals, with the likes of Germany (5), France (6), Netherlands (1), Portugal (5) and Italy (4) behind us.
Regardless of what happens beyond that, it is a record to be proud of and the Welbeck example mooted earlier is something that this group of players are all keen to follow and with ten of them having already picked up a Euro winners medal as U17s two years ago, we all hope they can go on to collect another honour in Estonia.
It won't be easy, no-one expects it to be, but the proof is in the numbers and England are one of the leading nations at youth level across Europe in the last few years and that is something which the players and staff involved can be proud of.
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