Peter Taylor speaks of the difficulty he had picking his England U20 World Cup squad
By Nicholas Veevers
England U20s Head Coach Peter Taylor has spoken of the difficulty he had in selecting his squad for the World Cup in Turkey this summer.
After naming an initial group of 35 players for FIFA registration, that list had to be shortened ahead of the tournament next month.
And after taking his squad for a training camp in Cheshire earlier in May as well as speaking with all of the players involved, he’s now settled on his 21-man squad for the trip.
Taylor said: “I’m very happy with the squad.
“We had 27 players training with us at the camp recently, so it was difficult to leave out some of them in the end because everyone trained very well.
“But I’m quite pleased with the positions that we’ve got. We have certain players who can play in a couple of positions so we have plenty of alternatives.”
The majority of his group have experienced international football with England in a variety of teams over the years.
Five members of the squad were part of the England U17 group who became European Champions in 2010 and eight were also part of the U19 team who secured World Cup qualification last summer.
But there are also a number of new faces who have been selected in an England squad for the first time after impressing Taylor with their clubs and in training.
He added: “I think there is a good blend and a decent balance there.
“I tried to look at all different things, like the people who perhaps haven’t played so much but will be feeling fresh and certainly the ones who are in form as well.
“When we had the training camp, everybody was terrific towards each other and there was a really good spirit.”
Since being named as Head Coach for the tournament in March, it’s been a long process for Taylor and his staff to look at all of their options over the last few months.
“I’ve watched a lot of players and football and it was very difficult,” he explained.
“Some players were out on loan and not playing so it was difficult to see them.
“But I watched the majority of them and with the majority of clubs that I’ve been to, everybody has been very good and the managers have been terrific, letting me watch training and speak to the players.”
Taylor and his squad will now meet up at St. George’s Park on Monday 2 June for a few days of training before returning home for a final rest with friends and family.
The group will then be back at SGP on Monday 10 June before flying out to Turkey two days later as preparations for the World Cup intensify.
Taylor said: “We haven’t been able to do what a lot of other countries do and get the players quite as much, but I think our players that will have played more games with their clubs.
“We had a good training camp and then we will have another few days of work before we really get down to serious preparation.
“We’re okay and I think our players will benefit from a little bit of rest before we start again.”