Peter Sturgess takes his squad into their final games of 2013 later this week - hoping to continue his Futsal revolution within the England squad.
After taking the Three Lions beyond the Preliminary Qualifying Round of the Euros for the first time in England’s history in January, head coach Sturgess has continued to develop and formulate his team over the course of the year.
They now have two games against Lithuania at the Sporthouse venue in Barking, starting on Thursday evening against a side who England beat earlier this year in those Euro qualifiers.
And Sturgess is hoping to use these matches to keep England’s international Futsal progress on the up.
England v Lithuania
28-29 November 2013
“These two games, against who we know will be a very strong and experienced Lithuania side, will be another chance to plot our progress,” revealed Sturgess.
“The Futsal ‘year’ finished with a very successful four-team tournament in Newcastle and was a great way to end an historic period for Futsal in England.
“However, as always there is the future to think about and new matches and tournaments to play so after a long summer break it was back to work in October for our first training camp followed quickly by two games in Qatar.
“These first two events were a great way to bring the team back together again and was a chance to map out what the plan is going to be leading up to, and including, the next important qualifying games for the World Cup and for the Euros.
“The timescale gives us about 15 months to introduce another style of play to the one that has brought us some success.
“It is important that this happens and we have been handed a gift by the time available.”
Sturgess is also using the games to experiment with his squad, having selected four new players in the group.
Jordan Parker, George Nash, Jez Poulson and Godwill Moraka are all in line to make their England debuts in east London, after impressing for their clubs of late.
And Sturgess is keen to introduce those new faces into his group as they look to add new methods and tactics to utilise in games.
“The difficult thing is to manage the transition carefully so that we don’t lose some of the things that have brought us success in the past,” revealed Sturgess.
“The new style will take time to settle down but the players have been fully committed to integrating it into our current game plan and if they continue with this attitude and belief with where we want to go then it will ultimately bring us more success.
“The signs were very encouraging after a 3-1 victory and a 6-6 draw with Qatar, although the squad and staff were very disappointed having led 4-0 and 5-2 in the second game but being early in our season may have been a factor.
“Support for the team is growing so we hope the fans can come and cheer us on and continue to help us improve and develop.”