Under-19s coach Blake calls for end to unfair criticism
England Under-19 coach Noel Blake has launched an impassioned defence of the nation’s young players ahead of his side’s European Championship semi-final with Spain today (27 July).
Blake insisted that England, who will take on Spain in Saint-Lo this afternoon for a place in Friday’s final, can still nurture players with the potential to compete at the highest level following the senior side’s mediocre performance at the World Cup in South Africa.
“I have had a bellyful in the last few weeks of people saying young English footballers aren’t good enough and can’t play football the right way,” said Blake, who had seen the Premier League trio Jack Rodwell, Jack Wilshere and Phil Jones elevated to the Under-21s instead of joining his squad in Normandy.
“We have got some good young players in our country. We know we’re lacking in depth, there’s no question about that, but I don’t think we praise our own players enough.
“As a nation, we’re very good at telling people what they are no good at and what they can’t do. Sometimes we need to highlight what we are good at and what we can do.
“Because if you keep telling people they can’t do something, they end up believing it and, no matter who they are, their confidence will drop. That’s just human nature.
“The more you tell people what they are good at – and be honest with them – they will start to believe it. I’m not saying my players are the finished articles. They all need to improve and we know that. But we have got some decent players and it’s time people acknowledged that.”
From the Independent