Niall Ennis: 'Mental toughness led to our victory'

Friday 28 Aug 2015
Niall Ennis in action against Italy
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Niall Ennis believes England Under-17s’ victory over Turkey demonstrated the winning desire within squad.

Having led by two at the break, the Young Lions had to dig deep to survive a spell of pressure on Friday after the restart to secure a 2-1 win.

Two days earlier Steve Cooper’s side had swept Italy aside as they triumphed 3-0, but Wolves striker Ennis says they had to show their defensive qualities to make it two wins out of two at The FA International Tournament. 

England v Portugal

U17s FA International Tournament
Sunday 29 August 2015
Pirelli Stadium, Burton Albion

“It was a bit of a challenge. We had a game plan as we had played them recently and we knew they would be a bit more physical than Italy,” he told

“We didn’t play our best and how we wanted, but I believe our team is good enough and sometimes even the best teams don’t play that well and still win. I think we are all mentally strong, we stood firm as a unit and that’s how we got the result.

“They had a spell in the second half that they were on top, but we put the low block on and defended our goal well. “

Next up for Ennis and his England colleagues is a winner-takes-all clash with Portugal on Sunday at Burton Albion.

The Portuguese have also recorded two wins so far in the competition, but the desire and preparation of the England squad has left Ennis confident his side can finish on top.

Niall Ennis and his team-mate Keanan Bennetts

Niall Ennis and his team-mate Keanan Bennetts

“We’ve won the Montaigu Tournament and we are trying to do the same here now we are with the U17s. We want to win everything we enter.

“I haven’t played Portugal before, but with all the match analysis and preparation I feel like I have because of the detail. We are ready.”

And should he be selected, Ennis is relishing the prospect of playing in front of a “creative” midfield.

“It’s a dream to be honest. We have a lot of creative players that can just find you, it’s up to me to know when the right time to move is,” he added.

“They are good enough to do their own thing but play as a team as well and create chances for me or whoever is upfront.

“Against Italy I really felt that I fitted in and hopefully I’ll get a start on Sunday.”

Tickets for England U17s v Portugal are priced at £3 adults and £1.50 kids.


By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer at St. George's Park