ENGLAND IN IT TO WIN IT, GRIFFITHS TELLS U17s
ENGLAND manager John Griffiths this week named his squad of 21 for next month’s Under-17s World Cup in Jordan and has a clear mission statement: “We’re in it to win it.”
The young Lionesses jet to Jordan on Tuesday, ahead of their opening Group C match on October 1 against North Korea, who lifted the inaugural trophy in 2008.
They then take on Nigeria, before the week concludes with a clash against Brazil.
International managers of the past have often talked down their team’s chances at a major tournament, to temper expectations back home.
But Griffiths, who led England Under-17s to the semi-finals of the European Championship in May, sees no reason why his talented young team cannot triumph.
“We’re going there to win it,” he said. “It would be remiss of any England manager about to take their team to a major finals not to think that.
“It’s what we’ve prepared for. We have the world leaders when it comes to making preparations.
“It’s not about doing it as best we can, it’s about preparing for absolutely anything and everything – and that is what we have done.”
The leading light in England’s squad is striker Georgia Stanway, a regular in the Manchester City team that currently sit top of the FA WSL 1 table.
But the squad is brimming with players who have also made their firstteam debuts, despite their tender years, and Griffiths believes the talent he has at his disposal is exceptional.
“Georgia Stanway captures the limelight, probably because of the hat-trick she scored this season against Sunderland, but she is one of a group of very talented players,” Griffiths added.
“She knows no individual is bigger than the group. She works as hard as anyone and we have a hatful of players that have played in the WSL this season.
“The clubs have some big games coming up that the girls are going to miss, but they have been very supportive of us.
“It’s a great example of club and country coming together to develop players in the best way possible.”
He added: “It was very hard to limit the squad to 21 players. We had six more on the periphery and any one of them could have got on the plane.
“We had a three-week training camp in York in August, and that was open for anyone to stake her claim.
“The important thing is everybody understands the selection process and I am open and transparent.
“I wanted to speak to the players, rather than have the news broken by text or e-mail. I accept there was disappointment, but this is just the start for them and I want them to push for the next opportunity.”
POSITIVE: John Griffiths