Aidy Boothroyd has praised his side’s resilience after they beat Germany in the opening game of the Four Nation Tournament.
England U20s got their three-game campaign in the Netherlands off to a winning start thanks to a 34th-minute own goal by Niklas Sule.
And head coach Bootthroyd said it was especially pleasing given the pedigree of the opposition.
Germany v England U20s
Four Nation Tournament
Sportpark Skoatterwaid, Heerenveen
Thursday 9 October 2014
“We’re delighted to start off with a victory against a very strong German team,” he told TheFA.com.
“When we looked at their squad we could see they had a lot of players born in 1994, so many were a year older than ours.
“They had a number of players that had won the U19 European Championships too – so to start off with a win against that side is very pleasing.
“It was a tight game. We’ve hit the post, they’ve hit the post and we’ve both a number of good chance too.
“But in the end it was down to an own-goal caused by some really good attacking play which sealed it.
"Kortney Hause made his debut and he had an exceptional game. It’s a fantastic experience for him and the rest of the boys to play against such high quality opposition."
The Young Lions play three games in five days and Boothroyd said the competition is designed to replicate the experience they will likely face later in their careers.
“We’re using it as a practice for when the boys get to the Under-21s and hopefully the senior team by organising it as if it’s a group stage of the European Championships," he said.
“They will also learn about what they need to do to get through a group stage against very difficult opposition – Germany, Holland and Turkey are all top level opposition.”
Next up for Boothroyd side is a game against the hosts in Heerenveen on Saturday. And the head coach says the competition will be just as tough.
“We all know the pedigree of players the Dutch produce and the good attacking football they always like to play," he said.
“We’re here to compete and we need to get some refuelling done. A couple of days’ rest and then we go again.”
England (4-3-3): 13 Christy Pym (Exeter City); 2 Isaac Hayden (C) (Arsenal), 5 Dominic Ball (Tottenham Hotspur), 6 Kortney Hause (Wolverhampton Wonderers, on loan at Gillingham), 3 Matt Targett (Southampton); 4 Harrison Reed (Southampton), 7 Matty Grimes (Exeter City), 11 Paul Digby (Barnsley); 8 Kwame Thomas (Derby County), 9 Chuba Akpom (Arsenal), 10 Callum Robinson (Aston Villa, on loan at Preston).
Substitutes: 16 Joe Rothwell (Manchester United) for Reed, 84
Substitutes not used: 1 Christian Walton (Brighton & Hove Albion), 12 Fankaty Dabo (Chelsea), 14 Lloyd Jones (Liverpool), 15 Ben Pearson (Manchester United), 17 Jacob Murphy (Norwich City), 18 Jordan Houghton (Chelsea), 19 Chris Long (Everton), 20 John Swift (Chelsea, on loan at Rotherham United), 21 Joe Wildsmith (Sheffield Wednesday)
Goals: Sule 34og
Head coach: Aidy Boothroyd
Watch highlights of the game as Aidy Boothroyd's U20s beat Germany