Despite watching her side slip to defeat, Mo Marley says playing top opposition is key.
England 1-3 France
Women's U19 International Friendly
7.45pm, Tuesday 30 October 2007
Mo Marley says it's imperative to look at the bigger picture after watching her England Women's U19 team lose 3-1 to France on Tuesday evening.
After taking the lead through Remi Allen's measured lob, France conjured up three sublime goals - all different in their execution - but each worthy of winning any game.
The exceptional Eugenie Le Sommer, who caused mayhem on the left flank, equalised a minute after England took the lead before Aurelie Kaci deftly dinked her side's second. Laura Agard's 82nd minute piledriver left Marley with plenty to ponder.
"We knew it was going to be a difficult game," she said. "They have good pedigree at this level over the last number of years. Physically they were stronger than us but we matched them for periods."
Earlier this month England reached the Second Phase of qualifying for the European Championships following easy wins over the Faroe Islands and Lithuania before concluding with a goalless draw with Spain.
Marley wants England to be competing against high calibre opponents before the Second Phase which takes place in April. November's friendly in Italy is further proof of the Head Coach's determination to be tested.
"We need constant top level competition all the time," she added. "There is a lot of football between now and Phase Two in April. We want to get the right competition and make sure we peak in Phase Two and qualify for the Finals.
"But the game with France helped build up the players' experience. It was a massive learning curve for some but they will improve from it.
"It was also the chance to play at home. Some of our players have never played in England in front of a crowd. It's different - family and friends are there, more pressure being at home. It's invaluable though."
There were some excellent performances in England shirts - Marley picked out debutant Gilly Flaherty, Brooke Chaplen and Claire Rafferty - while the tenacious Sophie Walton caught the eye as she battled hard in central midfield.
But it was Rebecca Spencer's efforts in goal which left spectators gushing with praise and the announcement that she won the Player of the Match award was greeted with enthusiastic applause by the friendly Harrogate crowd.
"It was only Becky Spencer's third international at U19 level and she was outstanding," said Marley. "People were saying 'where's your new keeper come from?' But we knew all about her. We were not surprised and see her quality in training. This is her time now and we see her being a key player for us over the next three years at this age group."England:
1 Rebecca Spencer (12 Chelsea Weston, 62 mins), 2 Jayne Eadie, 3 Georgie Giddings, 4 Sophie Walton (17 Faye McCoy, 85 mins), 5 Gilly Flaherty, 6 Sophie Bradley, 7 Jessica Clarke, 8 Elizabeth Edwards (14 Brooke Chaplen, 62 mins), 9 Ellen White, 10 Remi Allen (18 Michelle Hinnigan, 90 mins), 11 Claire Rafferty (16 Toni Duggan, 58 mins).Subs not used:
13 Helen Alderson, 15 Gemma Bonner.Head Coach:
1 Meline Gerard, 2 Jennifer Brocheray (15 Sophie Legros, 74 mins), 3 Charlotte Bilbault, 4 Wendie Renard (12 Audrey Fevrier, 77 mins), 5 Laura Agard, 6 Chloe Mazaloubeaud (14 Aude Moreau, 64 mins), 7 Gwenaelle Butel, 8 Oceane Cairaty, 9 Julie Machart (13 Gwendoline Rossi, 74 mins), 10 Sarah Chorfa (17 Aurelie Kaci, 64 mins), 11 Eugenie Le Sommer.Subs not used:
16 Marine Fromartin, 18 Fanny Tenret.Head Coach:
S IhringovaAssistant referees:
L Rashid & H Fulcher-WardFourth Official: