Hello! Welcome back. If you are here for the first time, you should take a gander at the previous parts to understand why we are here although the pace is steady so you are not really that far behind. This is England This is England… Pt2 and This is England – Pt3 should help you to see what you have missed. But If you can’t be arsed with that, in a nutshell I am FM Brooklyn and I am the England national manager, I’ve taken over the full, under 21’s and under 19’s, I’m not sure why as I’m completely run off my feet viewing all games from Champions League games to Under 23’s. Anyway….we have finally played the games that were scheduled in September. So I will give you a brief update of how we did…… Starting with the under 19’s Won, Lost, then the under 21’s Won, Draw. And the main squad, Won and won. There you go not too bad.
I did say brief update! Oh!!!! You won’t some detail. We alright then, if you must.
The Under 19’s
The squad is comprised of lads ranging from the ages of 16 up to 19. (Below is a screen shot of the 23 boys selected).
The key players I had noted when selecting them were;
18 yrs old Left wingback Josh Tymon. Despite his jovial glow around the camp the boy is a very determined athlete when on the pitch. His selection was one that was based on his knowledge at both the full back and wing back role. The boy is contracted to Stoke City and is on loan at Milky Beans (Milton Keynes) for the season.
Another key player again for the left hand side is Jadon Sancho. The 17 yrs old inside Forward is contracted to German side Borussia Dortmund. This kid excites me with not only his potential to become the next big thing but the fact that he looks like he can do it all now (albeit inconsistently at the moment but game time and experience will help this lad improve no-end).
I know I’ve gone off topic slightly… The two matches played.
We played the first under 19’s match at Dean Court in Bournemouth. We won 3-0. Using our new 122221 formation (or a 3421 with a Libero for those of you using the old money). The tactic worked quite well for saying it’s the first time these boys have been exposed to it. As you can see we hit them hard early and gained two goals in the opening 12 minutes. With Man City’s Phil Foden hitting a screamer on the 83rd minute to put the game even further out of reach for the Bosnians.
The second game was Vs Spain’s under 19 side. We made a few changes to the starting eleven due to fitness levels. And with the match being a friendly we made sure we gave game time to most of the boys. Spain bagged a penalty due to a Callum Brittan mistake. Apart from that neither side really showed any killer instinct infront of goal. which just led to a scrappy affair on our part.
What did we learn?
I need to scout the players at this level a little harder as I am convinced there are better central defenders at my disposal than the ones we selected. Another note to self is make sure you select enough central midfielders.
The Under 21’s
This squad is comprised of players ranging from 17 yrs old to 21 yrs old.
*Please note we selected and played Dominic Solanke in the opening fixture. But lost the boy due to injury for the second fixture. Whilst I’m briefly talking about Dominic Solanke is it me (or only me) that has this song on my head when I hear/read his name?
No! Just me then!
Well Like I said we won and drew.
The first match was away to Serbia. A very early goal by Ryan Sessegnon saw us take the victory in what was a very close game. One that I thought we edged and warranted the three points.
Next was a stern test against Germany. I thought we did enough to in the game to match the result, in fact I thought we nearly snatched the victory with a shot that hit their post in the dying embers of the game. Tammy Abraham was a very bright spark on a damp and drizzly evening in Stoke on Trent.
What did we learn?
Harry Winks is not a Rolls Royce, he is more reliable and consistent than that. He is more like a VW Golf Mark 7 GTDI. (With most of the options). He averaged 7.10 over the two games. Now bearing in mind we didn’t light the world on fire in either match, I think he did very well. I may have to keep an eye on this lad for the main squad.
Ryan Sessegnon is raw. Raw stats in the world of algorithms. Yet you can see his great potential in the game. Which I am sure we all hope he can match and better this in real life.
Reiss Nelson is not ready for the under 21’s unless he improves at club level so he may have to drop back to the under 19’s which is not a bad thing bearing in mind he is still at school (17).
And the Full (or Main) Squad.
The initial call up of these 23 players was based on the fact that each of them had played (started) at least two matches for their respective clubs.
The first match was away at Slovakia (the international team Hamsik of Napoli plays for, you know the spiky haired lad that looks like he a skinny horse, now you’ve got me). We played like an away team who had not played football before. (The brief and honest opinion). In reality We played like an away team that wasn’t 100% with what I had sent them out to do. Which was disappointing as I had got them going through small sided games replicating what I expected of them. Never mind. we won and we do have a few reasons to be cheerful. One, Jordan Henderson scored his first International goal. Two, Hendo and Dele Alli played quite well as a central midfield pairing. With Alli suppling the assist for Jordan to score. Three, Jordan Pickford played will in goal. And number four, Harry Maguire played very well on his debut. One major thing to look at is, Does Eric Dier have it in him enough to be the Libero? Time will tell.
(The first match wearing the beautiful away kit)
The second International match for England was Vs Slovenia.(The Goalie from Athletico plays for these, no…me neither).
A much better team performance saw us beat them 4-1 in Slovenia. Due to injuries to Harry Kane and John Stones we were forced into making a couple of changes that suited the team. We brought in experienced defender Gary Cahill to play along side the new boy Maguire. And Jamie Vardy came in to replace Kane. We also swapped Cresswell in for Baines. And Sterling in for Lingard.
Henderson and Dele Alli bossed the midfield, with Hendo supplying Vardy the bullets to score a hat-trick. Cahill also contributed with a goal from close range. The camp disbanded in a buoyant mood. I have been left with the issue of why the LWB position is a problem? One I hope to find the right personnel to solve our issue. But two wins out of two away from home is good, right? Well it feels good for me, something to work from with nuggets I can take away until the next round of matches.