As we reflect back on 2021, the return of youth-level football on an international stage has to be one of the highlights. With tournaments cancelled for over a year due to coronavirus, football federations have had to play catch up as a generation of young footballers missed out on the traditional pathways to develop their trade.
England U19s opened their European qualification with a hard-fought victory over a spirited Republic of Ireland side.
England’s U17s were back in action on Thursday afternoon as they secured a vital win against Belgium in their European Qualifying group.
England’s U17s began their European qualifying campaign with defeat to Russia in Inowroclaw.
“What we have been trying to do is switch fields very quickly, and then find spaces and have crosses also, and be relentless. I think that was ok. When you score 10, it’s pretty good.”
These were the words of a satisfied Sarina Wiegman as England wrapped up a successful first camp, securing an emphatic victory over Luxembourg without having to move out of second gear.
Sarina Wiegman’s England era got off to a high-scoring start on a balmy September evening in Southampton. On a night that saw glimpses of the present and the future, the Lionesses eased past North Macedonia, left with only the feeling that it should have been more emphatic.
A new era begins this week as England’s Lionesses start life under their new manager, Sarina Wiegman. A renowned name in the women’s game, the Dutch national brings with her plenty of prestige and experience. Her arrival also brings hope that she will oversee a change in fortunes for the Lionesses side that has won just four of their last 12 matches since the completion of the World Cup in 2019.
524 days is how long England U19s coach, Lydia Bedford, has calculated since her group of young footballers had an international fixture. It is a large amount of time by any stretch, but particularly so in the cycle of youth football that prepares the next generation for their senior careers.