Under 19 European Championships
England Under-19s are 8/11 with BetVictor to open their European Championships campaign by beating Croatia in Estonia this afternoon.
Manager Noel Blake is hoping his side can replicate their success at Under-17s level two years ago, with a place at next year’s Under-20 World Cup up for grabs.
“The challenge for our players is this: no team has won the tournament as a year group at Under-17s and then Under-19s,” Blake said. “They know the expectations within the group and it is also important about the way we will try to play.
“We will go into it with a positive frame of mind and will showcase what we have got. There are some real talented kids in this group.”
Blake has been hampered by the loss of Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland to the senior set-up but still believes he has a strong talent pool to work with.
“I go around the academies and I see people teaching kids to play the right way, there is some terrific work going on,” added Blake.
“Equally there is room for massive improvement at some clubs, but it is unfair to say we are not doing this, because then we are tarring everybody with the same brush.
“Some good players have come through the system in recent times. If we were not producing players, I would be the first to say this is not right.
“You cannot just clean everything out all in one go. It is a matter of drip feeding. It is about when and how you put these boys in.”
In today’s other matches, Spain are 9/20 to beat Greece, France are 4/7 to see off Serbia and Portugal are 2/9 to brush aside hosts Estonia.