Minds turn to Norway as FA Editor Jamie Bradbury writes from inside the Under-21s camp
Defeat is always a tricky issue to deal with post-match, maybe more so for an Under-21s side who haven’t been in that situation for over 18 months.
On the way back to the hotel, normally an hour away but late night roadworks doubled the journey time, the mood was subdued and I was able to catch up on the latest from Twitter.
Whether it was via my own account or The FA’s feed, I read a lot of different opinions, some with which I agreed, some I didn’t.
My view is, having been at all but three Under-21s games since August 2006, it was an uncharacteristic display and definitely an uncharacteristic result considering their recent record.
Stuart Pearce admitted so himself when we spoke at the hotel on Thursday. “It was a really poor performance from us and it’s no point dressing it up and suggesting it wasn’t,” he said. And other players agreed when we chatted throughout the day.
Even though Stuart had highlighted Italy as group favourites, he also said in his pre-match press conference that he will be able to judge if the campaign was a success once the dust has settled. Whether England have the trophy, or when we see players in this group playing senior international football. Or both.
Already eight players who have appeared for England during this current campaign, which began in September 2011, have played for England’s senior team, and I’m sure more will follow.
On Thursday we had post-match media activity to deal with. While the previous night’s game was the hot topic It’s important that we started to turn the attention to Norway on Saturday. Yes, it was disappointing to lose to Italy, but if you are going to lose one game out of a potential five, that’s the best one to do it in.
But, of course, we now have to get a result – preferably a victory – on Saturday.
After doing interviews with myself and Jon (FATV), Scott Field and I took Stuart, Tom Ince, and Nat Chalobah over to the neighbouring golf club to meet the press.
They were clearly gutted by defeat but, particularly Tom who was suspended for the Italy game, were desperate to get back out on the pitch against the Norwegians.
Tom will not be the only player back in contention, with Danny Rose – who was also suspended – and Wilf Zaha hopefully back from injury. Wilf trained in the morning with the rest of the players who didn’t start on Wednesday, so fingers crossed.
One player still unlikely to feature is Henri Lansbury, who tweaked his groin in training on the day before the last match. Henri is not only an important player, but a great person to have around the place; always upbeat and a genuinely top lad. He had me in stitches this morning with a message he’d left me on my dictaphone that I’d left on my desk in the office. The sooner he’s back in the frame, the better.
We had a change of scenery for dinner later in the evening. Rather than the meal room, a bar-be-que was laid on and our chef Sean excelled himself once again (Sean also did an interview with FATV on the challenges he’s faced producing such top-notch cuisine for the team over here – that’ll be online on Saturday).
And so, we’re back to matchday minus one again. Training in Netanya and a press conference at the match stadium in Petah Tikva. The focus is back on what the players can affect – the future – as the past is put to bed.
I’ll continue these blogs throughout the tournament and hopefully offer an insight into the England team set-up and what’s going on here in Israel. If you have any questions or would like to get in contact, you can follow me on Twitter @jamiebradbury or email editor@TheFA.com.