Middlesex youngsters told to make history by manager

Friday 10 Apr 2015
The Middlesex County FA U18s squad who have reached The Final
Middlesex manager John Fletcher has urged his players to make history in The FA County Youth Cup Final on Sunday by lifting the trophy for the first time in 43 years.

The county are four-time winners of the 71-year-old competition, which pits county U18 representative teams from across the country against each other.

But they have not won since 1972 and as they prepare to face Cheshire at Barnet’s Hive Stadium, Fletcher has backed his talented squad to write themselves into the county’s history books.

Middlesex v Cheshire

The FA County Youth Cup
The Final
2pm, Sunday 12 April 2015
The Hive, Barnet FC
By Simon Collings

"It is their version of The FA Cup and we have spoken to them about it before, we instil in them the importance of getting through each round," Fletcher told TheFA.com.

"The players are all thrilled to be in The Final as it is a great platform for them.

"For many of them, this is their last season in U18s football and apart from playing for their country, this is the biggest game they will most likely play in.

"They have the chance to achieve history for Middlesex. We haven’t won the competition since 1972 and that is something we make them aware of.

"They can go out and write their own history this weekend."

While Sunday’s Final marks a special event for hosts Middlesex, it is also a landmark day for Fletcher himself.

He has been with the county for 10 years, but this weekend represents his first County Youth Cup Final after four quarter-finals and two semi-finals.

"It has always been my aim to guide a team to victory in the competition," admitted Fletcher, whose side have seen off Lancashire, Durham, Wiltshire and Somerset on their run to The Final.

"Not many managers get the opportunity to do so. It has been a privilege to select players from throughout the county who represent a number of clubs.

"A number of the players know each other from outside the county squad and that has been key.

"We have a brilliant trust in each other. The players are very organised but they also have great technical ability too.

"This season it has been about matching technique with effort. The technical ability has never been in doubt.

"But the players have now managed to match their ability with the physical side of the game."

By FA Staff