England Head Coach, Tom Wenham, is looking for consistency all round in the final two matches after three close contests went his boys’ way and they lead the five-match series 3-0.
It has been a highly positive tour so far for Team England against an Israel side who will have their sights set on causing some upsets at their upcoming World Championships against some of the Blue Division opposition.
However, the performances have not been without lapses, going goals down early in the first two games before yesterday’s surrender of a seven-goal lead before showing character late on to take the win.
“We’re not too concerned with what happened, more why it happened, and what we can do differently to ensure we continue to perform to the best of our ability and keep up the level of consistency we have largely shown throughout the tour,” Wenham commented.
In fact, rather than dwell on any negatives, the England Head Coach was keen to look at the positive, resilient nature of his squad as a real plus point.
“Our reaction to the challenges Israel have given us so far has been a real positive.
“The ability to grind out a result and demonstrate that resilience has been really beneficial for us, as although we are always looking to develop and perform to our best, ultimately international lacrosse is about getting the win and we’ve shown three times now that we are able to do that.”
“I’ve known England teams in the past that maybe it would have been beyond them and in years gone by might not have had enough to come back from those challenges, so it has been a real positive to see us do that against high-level opponents,” Wenham added.
As well as on the field, Coach Wenham has also been impressed with the level of professionalism demonstrated by his players off the pitch, throughout what has been brutal schedule which will see five games in five games, added with the travelling between different cities.
“Credit to them, the way they have looked after their own recovery and preparation and managing their bodies throughout what has been a significantly more challenging schedule to anything they will experience at the World Championships has pleased me,” he said.
Looking towards the summer, Wenham remarked that successes in the summer will be firmly built on teamwork and this Israel tour has really allowed the team spirit within the camp to blossom.
“It’s like golddust, something you can’t manufacture and it’s something we can really pride ourselves on at the moment.
“It doesn’t just happen by accident and weeks like this allow bonds to be forged, relationships to be developed and the players to understand each other’s tendencies to make them stronger as a group,” he said.
With a number of the squad tied up with NCAA commitments over in the States, there have also been opportunities for some of the younger players coming up from the U19s into the U23 squad to get their first taste of international action and Wenham has been delighted with their contributions so far.
“The younger players have really impressed, they’ve risen to the challenge and slotted seamlessly into the group, gaining valuable experience of tours like these at senior level that you can’t replicate anywhere else.”
“Players have scored their first senior international goals and fully integrated into the senior squad and that can only be a positive for the future for those guys.”
Game 4 versus Israel gets underway tonight in Herzliya at 7pm UK time before the final match of the series in Netanya at 8am tomorrow.