Holland targets U17 victory

Nathan Holland hopes his creative instincts can help fire England to victory against Portugal on Friday as he aims to win The FA U17 International Tournament.

The 16-year-old Everton attacker was in fine form on Wednesday, using his speed and trickery to lay on the pass for Kaylen Hinds to open the scoring against Czech Republic.

Despite being pegged back late on to finish the game 1-1, Holland was pleased with the performance he and his team-mates produced – and says he believes they can go on to win this week’s tournament.

England v Portugal

The FA U17 International Tournament
7.30pm, Friday 29 August 2014
Proact Stadium, Chesterfield FC

“I felt a bit of extra nerves with it being my first U17 tournament and everyone wants to do their best – but I thought we dealt with the pressure well,” the 16-year-old told TheFA.com.

“I’d say I’m technical, and with me being only small, I try not to get into a physical battle. I work on my skills, and I like to dribble and create opportunities for the team and myself – so I was pleased with myself to get an assist.

“I saw Chrissy Willock come inside, and he did well to take on the player. I’ve seen the space in behind and he has played me through. I took a touch and drove on and spotted KayKay’s [Hinds’s) movement so played it across the line, and he’s finished it.

“It was a great pass, and my touch was good, so that set me up perfectly to get in a cross. It’s always good when the crowd is cheering you on too.”

Holland and his team-mates now head to Chesterfield, and with the backing of another home crowd, he believes the Young Lions can come out on top against familiar opposition.

“I played against them in the Montaigu Tournament last season for the U16s and we did well. Adam Phillips scored a last-minute free-kick to win us the game 2-1,” explained Holland.

“They have good movement on the ball, but if we can play to our potential and capabilities, then we are more than able to get a victory.

Paul Woolston, number 13, with his England team-mates prior to Czech Republic match

The England U17s line-up before Czech clash

“We are all looking forward to it. We are a little bit gutted that we didn’t win against Czech Republic, but we want to bounce back and put on another good performance tonight.”

He continued: “This preparation is ideal ahead of the Euro qualifiers. Everyone wants to impress the manager. It is a little bit intense, but we won’t take that onto the pitch with us.

“Although it is only a friendly tournament, we want to win it. It will be difficult, but we’ll all be trying our best.”

Holland says he watched on “proudly” as his Everton team-mates Ryan Ledson and Jonjoe Kenny helped last season’s U17 side win the European Championship – and he aims to try and emulate them this year.

“When they got back from the Euros they were very happy. Everyone congratulated them and they spoke of the great experience they had out there. I’d love to follow in their footsteps this year.”