Kyle Walker-Peters backs U19s strike force against Italy

Sunday 17 Jul 2016
Kyle Walker-Peters

Kyle Walker-Peters is confident England Under-19s’ strike force can fire the Young Lions past Italy and into the Euro Final.

The Tottenham Hotspur defender and his squad mates go into Thursday’s semi-final in Mannheim having already met the Azzurri earlier this season.

That game ended all square in the first qualifying round last October, so Aidy Boothroyd and his players know enough to expect an Italian side who will be tough to breach.

England v Italy

UEFA European U19 Championship
11am, Thursday 21 July 2016
Carl-Benz Stadium, Mannheim, Germany
Live on Eurosport

But with an attack containing Chelsea trio Izzy Brown, Dominic Solanke and Tammy Abraham and Charlton’s Ademola Lookman, the 19-year-old believes England should fear no-one.

"They’re [Italy] very good defensively and they’ll look to double up in wide areas and they’re really good on the counter attack so we’ve got to be wary of that," revealed Walker-Peters, who featured from the start in the previous game against Italy.

"I wouldn’t say either of us were very good that day, it was a bit of a stalemate in a way and nobody had any real clear chances to score.

"So it’s hard to take too much from that game, but one thing we can take is that they are very good defensively.

"But we have good attackers and we can definitely get at them."

It’s been an eventful trip to Germany so far for the Edmonton-born youngster, as he started the group games against the Netherlands and Croatia in some unfamiliar positions.

Naturally a right-back at White Hart Lane, Walker-Peters showed his versatility by playing on the opposite side in the victory over the Dutch before he featured in a more advanced role against Croatia and even found himself in the six-yard box claiming England’s second goal before it was eventually credited to Croatian defender Silvio Anocic.

"I’ll definitely remember that moment, I think it’s always good to try and claim it, but I think he touched it," he laughed.

"But I’m happy with how it’s gone so far, I’ve played out of position in both games but I enjoy it.

"I played at left-back in the first game, which isn’t my side but I like playing down both sides and I thought I had a good performance and helped the team to win.

"And against Croatia, I played on the wing and I thought I made an impact, but it’s good to play in more than one position and it makes it easier when you’re playing with good players as well.


Izzy Brown celebrates his goal against the Dutch in England's second game

"We all help each other and play as a good unit together."

It’s that team unit which Walker-Peters refers to that has been a mainstay of their success this season so far, with a number of the squad having already won the Euro title at U17 level two years ago.

Whilst Walker-Peters wasn’t involved in John Peacock’s group of Young Lions in 2014, with nine members of that squad still present, it has been referred to throughout the current campaign.

And it was the things which those players learned during that competition which Walker-Peters hopes can help the current crop to success.

"At times, collectively, we’ve spoken about how the U17s won the Euros and the boys have always said, in tournaments there are sometimes downs," he revealed.

"They had a down the year that they won the tournament, as they lost to Holland in their group stages…but then ended up beating them in the final.

"I wouldn’t say we’ve had our down yet, so we’ve got to try and prepare and if it does come, we’ve got to keep our heads and be ready to fix it."

England face Italy on Thursday morning, kicking-off at 11am (BST) and live on Eurosport.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels