Hills can see long-term benefit of Development Tournament

Monday 14 Apr 2014
FA Head of Women's Elite Development Brent Hills

Brent Hills believes the UEFA U16 Development Tournament can be of great benefit to England Women’s sides of the future.

Hills, who led the senior team to victory in their first four World Cup qualifiers last year, took charge of the Young Lions at St. George’s Park last week and oversaw two draws and a defeat.

It was only the second edition of the tournament, but, the introduction of sin bins and penalty shootouts meant it was a very beneficial week for the players in terms of experience.

Hills explained: "This tournament is a great idea because it means if a player doesn’t get into a Euro Finals squad they can still get that international experience.

"You might get a lot of 16-year-olds who don’t get into the U17s and this tournament can give them some vital game time.

"What’s nice about this tournament is that UEFA have a rule where everyone has got to play the equivalent of one game.

"We’ve also gone through a variety of scenarios over the last three games. We’ve had two penalty shootouts, and because of the sin bins we’ve played with and against 10 players for a period so that was a good experience for the girls as well."

England slipped to a 2-0 defeat by Poland in their opening match despite dominating possession. They then earned a 1-1 draw with Denmark and finished off with a 2-2 draw against Switzerland on Friday.

And Hills, The FA’s Head of Women’s Elite Development, was satisfied with how his players performed over the course of the three games.

He added: "Switzerland were a decent side and it was an evenly-fought game.

"We might have had a little bit more possession but they got through us two or three times in the first half and our ‘keeper saved us.

"When we went 2-1 up we had them rattled and if we’d have scored a third the game would have been over. They scored with just two minutes to go and it was a bit of a lucky goal – their shot hit the bar, came down, bounced off the back of the keeper’s head and went in.

"A draw was probably a fair result so I can’t be overly disappointed with that."

He continued: "We had 71 per cent possession against Poland, which is a huge amount. We were camped in their half but we couldn’t score and they nicked a couple of goals.

"We had 62 per cent possession against Denmark and were the best team. We had the lion’s share of the game and could have had another couple of goals.

"Every team played a different style and every game was competitive and you can’t ask for much more at this level."


By Glenn Lavery