White urges Young Lions to embrace tournaments

Wednesday 09 Jul 2014
Faye White won 90 England caps and captained her country at four tournaments

Faye White believes the England players involved in the upcoming Women’s U19s Euros and U20s World Cup will gain vital experience, which will in turn help them in their future careers.

Brent Hills will take the younger age group to Norway on Friday for fixtures against Sweden, Republic of Ireland and Spain.

Mo Marley will lead the U20s to Canada in August as they take on South Korea, Mexico and Nigeria.

U19s' Euro schedule

v Sweden, Tuesday 15 July
v Republic of Ireland, Friday 18 July
v Spain, Monday 21 July

And, as both squads converge on St. George’s Park for a two-day preparation camp, former Three Lions captain White has urged the players make the most of the opportunity.

She said: “You learn so much more from a tournament than you do in normal circumstances. You really do test yourself under pressure more than you normally would.

“You also find out how you get along with and work with your team-mates because a tournament is obviously a lot longer than the usual week-long meet-up. 

"Yes, you need good fortune in a tournament but you need that bond with your team-mates. You are together 24/7 for up to a month so it’s about how you cope with that, too.

“And it’s other key things like not getting too down when you lose and keeping your feet on the ground when you win – because the games come around so quickly, things can change in a matter of days.”

White, who captained her country at two World Cups and two European Championships, continued: “On the pitch you will come up against so many different styles of play, so qualifying for tournaments at a younger age is crucial.

“We are increasingly getting younger girls coming into England squads now full of confidence because they have had that breeding in the younger age groups and they know what to expect.

“The experience is vital. The U19s won the Euros in 2009. It doesn’t guarantee that they will make it into the seniors but they can draw on that experience. If you speak to any of those players now they know how much that tournament did for them.

“I wish I had that sort of experience when I was coming through.”

U20s' World Cup schedule

v South Korea, Wednesday 6 August
v Mexico, Saturday 9 August
v Nigeria, Thursday 14 August

White also offered a word of caution to the Young Lions ahead of their respective finals campaigns.

As the former Arsenal defender alluded to, a number of players in the triumphant U19 squad from 2009 used the tournament as a springboard for their international careers - and seven of them have since gone on to make the step up to the senior team.

But the 36-year-old has warned this year’s intake that the route into the seniors is not guaranteed.

She added: “The important thing to realise at youth level is that the path into the seniors isn’t easy.

“Just because you have played for the U15s, the U17s or the U19s doesn’t mean you will automatically get picked for the seniors. There is a lot of work to do before you can make that jump.

“You might get injured, you might not be selected by your club, you might not be able to cope with the expectation – there are a number of reasons why you might not get picked.

“You are going to experience highs and lows, as with any walk of life. It’s not an easy ride – if it was everyone would do it."

By Glenn Lavery