England U19s boss Paul Simpson is hoping he can call upon his strongest squad for this summer’s Euro Finals.
The Young Lions head to Finland in July with the aim of defending their title, following last summer’s success in Georgia when Keith Downing’s side won the competition in a year which saw England dominate at development level.
- The Finals
- 16-29 July 2018
And after last week’s draw in Vaasa saw England placed in Group B alongside Turkey, Ukraine and France, head coach Simpson is keen for the momentum of 2017 to continue this term.
“We know that if we have our strongest squad available for the tournament then we can definitely challenge for the trophy,” revealed Simpson, who led the U20s to the World Cup title last June.
“We want to carry on the good work, with this group, that has been taking place across all of England’s development teams and hope the clubs help us in that by supporting the players in participating.
“This tournament is also our route to qualify for the 2019 U20s World Cup.
“If we want to do ourselves justice and give ourselves the best chance of qualifying, we need the strongest squad available.
“We all saw what winning last year’s U20 World Cup did for the players, how it progressed their careers and developed them individually, which the clubs have definitely benefited from as well.
“There is nothing like tournament football to show players just what it takes to win and we’re looking forward to showing what we can do come the Euros this summer.”
After coming through two qualifying stages to confirm their place in the last eight of this season’s Euros, Simpson and his players recently enjoyed a training camp ahead of the Finals.
And with the likes of Italy, Portugal, Norway and host nation Finland in the other group, the head coach always knew his charges would face a tough test.
“When you look at all of the teams that have qualified, we knew that there wasn’t going to be an easy draw,” he added.
“We’re reasonably happy with who we have in the group. We don’t play France until the third game which is probably a good thing, as hopefully we’ll have hit our stride by then.
“They’re the toughest test on paper, but that’s not being disrespectful to Turkey and Ukraine who are also good teams.
“We need to make sure we prepare for each game properly and get ourselves in a decent position for the France game, and take it from there.
“Now we know who we’re facing, myself and the staff will be full steam ahead on preparing for all of the games and all of the opposition.”