It’s hard to believe that 16 months ago we held trials in both the North and South, and from there the chosen players have worked through the selection process. Months of hard work and dedication has resulted in the final squad of 27 players being selected to make the journey out to Turku to represent their country and here we are.
The flight was good and the coach journey interesting with much debate about whether the plural of moose (native to Finland) is meese, as the plural of goose is geese!
The accommodation and facilities are excellent with plenty of food for the lads who are always hungry. We cannot fault the staff here who have helped with everything we’ve asked and gone out of their way to make us welcome.
The boys have certainly made themselves at home with flags and bunting everywhere. We’re sharing accommodation with the Finnish, American and Australian teams and we’ve definitely won the ‘my flag is bigger than your flag’ battle!
It’s great to see the lads mixing with the other teams and getting on really well. Fifa on the Xbox helps! It’s also good to catch up with the people I met in 2010 and in Philadelphia earlier this year.
The coaches are happy with the way the lads are progressing on the field and they’ve worked hard both on and off the pitch. Danny Moody and Adey Saunderson are doing a great job of keeping everyone fit and able to play, but this has meant that we have had to order more tape to be brought out!!
We have a scrimmage game against Canada today which will give us an ideal opportunity to put into practice what we’ve been doing at training. There will be quite a crowd as the USA and Australian teams are both coming to scout the game.
The opening ceremony is tonight so I think it will become very real for the lads. They can’t wait to play and our first game is tomorrow against the Iroquois.
England U19 Team Manager