Hi and thank you for having me today Henry. The weather is beautiful in Burton today, isn’t it?
Henry Winter – Hi Brook it might be, but I had car trouble on the way up hence why i’m a bit pissed off!
Me – I’ll get you a coffee, so you can get your notes together.
HW – Cheers.
HW – You’ve chosen to leave out a number of well established international players, the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and even the promising Jack Butland. In favour of youth and inexperience, why is that?
Me – I didn’t make these decisions lightly. The two Manchester United lads have just not played enough for their club to warrant selection. From day one I have looked to select players who have played and have shown form for their respective clubs.
Jack’s form has been average at best. Stoke were awful all season which is why the went down Henry. Jack can’t be blamed for that be he did concede a lot of goals. So for me I didn’t feel that Jack would have the confidence to face a World Cup when he needs to be looking at moving club to and ideally in the Premier League.
HW – Your preparation for Russia has seen you pit your wits against Austria and North Korea so far with Australia due tomorrow. How do you feel things have gone on?
Me – The games were arranged to give us a fitness and readiness platform to spring from for the Saudi Arabia match in eleven days.
The Austria game was a good work out for most of the squad. Although I was disappointed that we didn’t keep our concentration levels up for the full 90 minutes. (2-1) We appeared to switch off at the 70 minute mark, and ended up defending our goal for the last 20 minutes. (Not a bad thing to see if your wanting test the defence, but we weren’t, I think the number of changes made just complicated things).
The North Korea game was about trying out a few different things. Like playing certain players out of position if we do need to do something like putting Jack Wilshire at the libero and having a closer look at Angus between the sticks. I was very please with Jesse Lingard and the shift he put in, so despite the result, (0-0) I am happy with what we managed to do in that match.
HW – Who do you think will be your key players in Russia?
Me – We have three boys who I think will be the difference between us and the other teams in Russia.
First off we have John “Bitter” Stones. This lad can either be our defensive rock or our deep creator. This boy has it all, and it will be between me and Steve Holland to work out how we get the best out of him.
We also have Dele Alli. This boy will be key to our midfield. He has the ability to pick a pass, or be on the end of a pass. He can switch the pace of the game, driving us forward when we need it.
And then there is Reg! This guy has been like a whippet with a bow and arrow. He has scored goals when we have needed them. Whether he starts or jumps in to games from the bench, Reg has that knack of scoring goals which will be important in those close games.
HW – Do you think you can win the competition?
Me – I haven’t got the foggiest. What I do know is that I have selected the best squad available that have been in form for their respective clubs and that I believe we can do very well. The FA have given us the target of reaching the quarter finals. I’ll take that. But I hope we can reach all the way.