Release Date: 07/09/2012
Author: By Sam Woodside
NORTHERN Ireland Under 17 Manager, Alison Nicholl, discusses the group her Under 17 side face, what her side can expect and how they will approach each fixture in their UEFA European Championship mini tournament.
“Again, having played England last year will only benefit us, the English football system is one to be envied. You only have to look at their senior sides and their influence on the Olympic team to see they have real depth and ability. Like Italy, we are expecting a fiery, high paced game. We will aim to capitalise on possession and take our chances. We will be looking to get forward as we have excellent attacking players that can trouble their defence. Should be an excellent game and we are excited to get underway”
“Our match with Israel last time around was certainly a learning curve. We boasted good possession and created various chances, our finishing let us down in a game that we really should have taken all three points. The girls will remember how disappointed they felt coming away from the game without a win. This is something that will spur them on to dig deep and get a win that we know we can get”
“Italy are a top side and highly ranked. With this being our first outing against them, we will still be wary of what will be a threatening side. We are expecting a tough game played at a high tempo. Italy are a top side so will be looking to play the game at a good pace and make them work on and off the ball. The experience will be fantastic for the girls, playing a side of this stature and ability does wonders for a team. We are looking to give a good account of ourselves, maintain discipline and shape when out of possession. Playing against the best can only improve our game. We are relishing the opportunity.”
“Our preparation has been a long process for this tournament, you just have to look at our performances against Scotland to see we are nearing the level we have been aiming for. The girls have been fantastic. Enthusiasm is something you want within a squad. We are ready for the games and determined to show what we can do. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the coaching staff for the preparation for the tournament, in particular Noel Mitchell. His input has been invaluable to our team and he has been a great help as always,” said Nicholl.
You can see Alison, Noel and their Under 17 side in action from this Monday (10 September) when they take on England in their group opener at Solitude, Belfast. Kick-off is 19.30.
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