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Southgate: a chance to see the stars of tomorrow

19 April 2018

England manager Gareth Southgate says fans can see the stars of tomorrow at this summer’s UEFA European Under-17 Championship.

The Saddlers’ Banks’s Stadium is one of six host venues for the 16-team tournament, which will take place between 4-20 May.

The Banks’s will stage five matches – four group stage fixtures and one quarter-final – including England’s Group A game against Italy on Monday 7th May.

A host of famous footballing names have featured in previous European Under-17 Championships, including Cristiano Ronaldo, David Silva and Wayne Rooney.

And Southgate, who attended an England Supporters’ Travel Club pre-World Cup forum at the Banks’s this week, says those attending this summer’s event can see the next line of talent.

“The exciting thing about watching junior international football is being able to see the stars of tomorrow,” said the Three Lions boss.

“You’re not quite sure which ones they’re going to be, but sometimes at this age you can start to pinpoint those players.

“That might be in our team, or in the Italian team.

"Whenever you watch these junior games and you look back at the programmes in years to come, you can highlight players that you have seen.

“With youth football as well, there is always that rawness of the games and the enthusiasm of the players.”

England’s youth teams enjoyed huge success in 2017, winning the Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups and the Under-19 European Championship.

“Anybody who watched last year’s teams, there’s a style of play we’re looking to implement with our younger teams,” Southgate added.

“It would be fantastic if the Under-17s can perform well this summer.

“Every year is a different group – some year groups are really strong in certain areas of the pitch and some have strengths in different areas.

“This group haven’t had to have a qualifying campaign, so it’s a little bit unknown how they will cope under pressure.

“With our young players, their individual development is as important as the team success.

“If they can win matches as well, then that’d be great for their experience and their confidence.”


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