Neil Dewsnip admits he can’t wait to take his Young Lions to Toulon this summer, after finding out their group opponents at the 2017 draw earlier this month.
England will take on Japan, Cuba and Angola in Group A at the prestigious tournament in southern France, with the Under-18s head coach taking charge for the trip.
With England in action at both the U20 World Cup in South Korea in May and June and the U19 Euro Finals in July, it means Dewsnip’s squad is likely to be younger than most of their opponents.
- 29 May - 10 June 2017
- Group A: Angola, Cuba, England, Japan
- Group B: Bahrain, France, Ivory Coast, Wales
- Group C: Brazil; Czech Republic, Indonesia, Scotland
But Dewsnip is looking forward to seeing how the Young Lions test themselves against a variety of opponents from around the world, having already taken on the likes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Sweden, Italy, France, Poland and Israel this season.
“This is exactly the way we want the U18s programme to be, where we have freedom outside of European competition, so we can design it the way we want it and all of the games have been very challenging,” said Dewsnip.
“And to end it with a trip to a prestigious and high-profile tournament like Toulon, where we’re going to be challenged and stretched, is exactly what we want to happen.
“It’ll be a first in my coaching career to come up against Cuba and Angola, so it’s fantastic for our players too and it pleases me as it gives us a different challenge.
“With that in mind, it’s been a really successful year for the U18s and the results have stood up nicely, so it’s been really enjoyable in all aspects.”