Dewsnip’s Italian job

Beating Holland is one thing, but a win over Italy in their own back yard is the next obstacle Neil Dewsnip is challenging his England U18 squad to conquer as they continue their international development.

Dewsnip’s Young Lions arrived in the northern town of Caorle on Sunday afternoon, and on Monday they continued their preparation for Wednesday’s match with the Azzurri with a morning training session.

Following their European U17 Championship success last season, the group kicked-off this year with 4-1 and 3-1 victories over Holland at the beginning of this month – and the head coach his looking forward to seeing whether his youngsters can continue their progression.

Italy v England

U18 International
2pm, Wednesday 24 September 2014
Stadio Giovanni Chiggiato, Caorle, Italy

“They didn’t just make a good start against Holland, they made a very good start,” he told TheFA.com. “To beat the Dutch convincingly in both games was very good, and Italy will also provide a similar difficult challenge.

“Tactically, it will be a different challenge, but similar in the terms of toughness.

“They played the Italians last year in the Euro qualifiers, and we managed to sneak the win, which was very good, but I suspect they will be coming back at us to get their own back.

“So if our lads are not mentally right then they will find this a really difficult challenge to overcome – especially in their home country.”

In the build-up to the game, the squad were shown a video package of previous England v Italy encounters of yesteryear, and Dewsnip is expecting another competitive contest at Stadio Giovanni Chiggiato.

“They’re always very competitive that’s for sure. I expressed that in the team meeting we had on the first night here with the players and they’ve took that on board.

“They need to keep going and improving, and this fixture is a great example of that. The experiences they will need in their locker as they hopefully progress through the international pathway, like this coming to Italy – having to get used to their culture, the crowd and officials – they’ll have to learn to handle that mentally.

“They need to keep going and improving, and this fixture is a great example of that”

Neil Dewsnip

“Being able to come out and perform technically and tactically, hopefully they’ll be able to do that successfully.”

Having taken his first session on Monday morning with the squad since their arrival, Dewsnip said the mood was positive within the camp – but he knows there is still plenty of hard work to come within the next 48 hours if his Lions are to get the desired result.

“It was very enjoyable – the players definitely enjoy being in each other’s company. I think that is a respect towards each other as a group, which I think is very positive.”

He added: “Myself, I’m having fun as well and it’s an honour to work with players who are this talented.

“It’s been a good start to the trip, but that’s all it is – a start. We’ve got a lot more work to do before the game itself.”

You can follow all the updates from Italy U18s v England U18s by following @England on Twitter.