ENG­LAND IN IT TO WIN IT, GRIF­FITHS TELLS U17s

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Joshua Richards

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

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