Welcome back to St George’s Park. After a wee discussion with @AcidburnTNA about the state of quality English centre backs coming through the game. My mind went whirring into overdrive to find a way to revive the series by finding an old save file that would allow me to start from where we had left the international save.
We have stocked up with ideas and we’re back with a vengeance.
To start with we have been out posting wanted posters in the local job centre, for a new Under 20’s Manager. Under 20’s Manager? Why? I can hear you asking.
By having an Under 20’s Manager I can look to delegate the workload that I have taken on of managing the Senior team along with every youth team in the game (FM). However, after hitting a crash file due to calling up players for the Under 19’s that were eligible for the first game but were not eligible for the second, I have come up with a strategy to enable me to control the four teams but without the confusion of player eligibility for the youth teams.
The man to answer our call was…….Stuart “Psycho” Pearce. The Psycho knows his way around the FA and the England set up at youth level. He also comes with added motivation to pick up and succeed where he had left off previously. With the Autumn internationals looming I looked to give Stuart control of selecting his Under 20’s squad. By doing so it left me a greater understanding of which players around the 19 yrs old mark I could call up with out screwing the game up again.
Two Stars –
After winning the World Cup in the summer Adidas have thrown money at the FA to supply our kits. (courtesy of @FMAcidphire2185). Our hope is that Admiral will come back after the Adidas contract and supply again (@FMU_tv).
The Autumn Internationals (Seniors only).
The Squad – I kept faith with 21 of the 23 that won the World Cup. The two that missed out were Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane, both due to injury. The two players that came into the squad were Reiss Nelson the speedy winger has found himself on loan at Nice from parent club Arsenal. The other was Tammy Abraham. The young powerhouse has also found himself on loan albeit at Freiburg from parent club Chelsea. The two have shown to be very consistent at Under 21 level. With the first match being a friendly I felt the opportunity was just right to see what the boys could do.
Our first fixture was a home friendly at Wembley against Argentina. A team that failed to get out of their group in the summer (World Cup).
We won quite comfortably in the end. Running out as 4-1 winners. The match saw Raheem Sterling show us his early season form by scoring after 49 minutes. With the match in the balance we gave debuts to both of the new boys. Reiss showed us that he is like a duck to water. He bangs one in on 61 minutes. Not to be out done, Tammy scores four minutes later. Terence scores a penalty to close the scoring for us. And Dybala scores on 85 minutes to close the scoring for the match.
We played ok for the first 45 minutes with very little penetration. The second half was a much better game. We played with cohesion despite the changes we made, the bold changes we made were based on fitness in the wide areas, which in the end won the match for us.
Our second match was a European League fixture (What ever that is!), against France in the Matmut Atlantique (Bordeaux). I went with a gamble. I started Tammy Abraham instead of Jamie “Reg” Vardy and looked to rest Harry Maguire choosing to play Jamaal instead. The gamble didn’t backfire but we didn’t exactly light the world on fire with our performance. The match was a series of fouls that saw little pomp and less passion. We finished the game with no goals between the two sides but we were slightly ahead with one yellow card to their none.
The second month of the Autumn came around with wholesale changes to the squad. We dropped a number of squad regulars due to them not getting game time at their respective clubs, to check out a number of other players that had been playing for their clubs for the last few weeks.
We brought in Fraser Forster (Southampton), Nathaniel Clyne (Tottenham), Luke Shaw (Man Utd, back in after a case of Darren Anderton), Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle), Tom Carroll (Swansea), John Swift (Leicester), Will Hughes (Watford).
The first match of October was vs Iceland in this European League thing. Wembley hosted the fixture. But for Will Hughes the team was a very strong one, one that had played the previous match. (Not that Will is shite, it’s more the fact that he has not been in the squad for a wee while).
We played a very possession based game with 64% of the ball, and sent the guys from Iceland back to their mums (Because Mum’s shop at Iceland). After our usual slow start to find the back of the net in the first half. We eventually broke the deadlock courtesy of a “Reg” Vardy penalty. Bailey, Abraham and Stones then followed suit by hitting the back of the net and seeing us win 4-0.
The second match was an away friendly vs Belgium where we experimented by playing some of the new boys. The team played very well. Better than expected against a strong Belgium side. “Reg” scored in the first half and until Batshuayi scored in the 86th minute we looked like we were going to win. The changes in the second half were probably the cause of allowing the Belgians back in the game. Lesson learned.
What did I learn from the two matches after selecting a different squad?
That Will Hughes could be capable at playing at Libero if guided properly at club level. And that Jonjo Shelvey and Tom Carroll are not quite at the level required to match my expectations at international level. (They struggled in the friendly). I will probably dig further into the under 21’s/20’s/18’s to help the younger guys develop rather than look to individuals who have failed when given the opportunity.
Thank you for your time. Where we will discuss the tactical approach we have developed and our thoughts of youth player development.