United’s Young Lions look for a Euro double
Posted by nickogs20 on July 18, 2010
Hot on the heels of a United triumvirate playing their part in England’s success at the UEFA U17 European Championships, Matt James and Reece Brown will be attempting to emulate that achievement when the U19 version of the tournament gets underway later today.
Drawn in Group A along with the Netherlands, hosts France and opening opponents Austria, Noel Blake’s squad will be full of confidence after qualifying impressively and seeing their younger compatriots taste glory in Liechtenstein back in May. James – playing in his second U19 Euros – has been named captain, while Brown is expected to be a regular part of the Young Lions’ back four. Also included in the 18-man squad are Aston Villa’s Nathan Delfouneso (top scorer in last year’s tournament and familiar to United fans after his double in the reserve league play-off last season), Tottenham’s John Bostock and Nathaniel Clyne of Crystal Palace, last season’s Football League Young Player of the Year.
The tournament begins today and will climax with the final on July 30, with games being held at five venues across the northern French region of Normandy. All the teams are based in the city of Caen, which will host the final at the Stade Michel-d’Ornano, while the towns of Mondeville, Flers, Bayeux and Saint-Lô will all stage group games. England get their campaign started this afternoon against the Austrians in Flers, before tackling the Dutch in Bayeux on Wednesday and the host nation in Saint-Lô on Saturday. Opponents to watch out for include Holland’s Rodney Sneijder (younger brother of World Cup star Wesley) and Luc Castaignos and the Lyon contingent in the French camp, particularly Enzo Reale, Yannis Tafer, Clément Grenier, Alexandre Lacazette and Thimotée Kolodziejczak, while Chelsea’s Gaël Kakuta is another name to keep an eye out for.
Group B features Spain, Portugal, Italy and Croatia, so there’s no shortage of talent there either. The Spanish squad features La Liga starlets Sergio Canales (who has just joined Real Madrid from Racing Santander) and Iker Muniain (of Athletic Bilbao), while Inter’s prolific Matteo Destro should provide a serious goal threat for the Azzurini after netting eight times in five qualifying games. Croatia feature another Chelsea youngster, the highly-rated young goalkeeper Matej Delač, while there’s a familiar name in the Portuguese ranks, one Evandro Brandão, the former United academy striker who now plays his football back in Portugal with Benfica.
We’ll bring you updates throughout the tournament both on the blog and on Twitter, and keep an eye on the official tournament website and the FA’s website for further information. Of particular interest should be Matt James’ blogs from the England camp, the first of which can be read here.