Marcus Braddock looks ahead to this evenings England U20 v Netherlands U20 game
Tonight, we have something special for the public of Shropshire in the form of an international football match between 2017 World Cup winners England and the Netherlands, who have a track record, when it comes to producing skilful and innovative footballers.
England coach Keith Downing named his squad in late August and it included our own (for this season) Ryan Giles who's on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers. It's Giles' first call up to the U20s, as it is for Manchester United left-back Brandon Williams and Leeds loan striker from Spurs, Jack Clarke as debutants. Anyone expecting our old friend Paul Simpson making a return to the Town Dugout as U20 coach may be disappointed as the coaches are rotated so that there is continuity for players as they pass through each age group.
It reflects the "joined-up", approach from the English Football Association in recent years, an approach that has helped to win a world cup at U20 level and an U19 European championship. That European Championship was won by a team coached by Downing in 2017, so although he's new to this age group, he's a successful international youth coach. He was also a successful player who played for wolves for the majority of his career and also had a spell in charge of Cheltenham Town.
The Netherlands team has its fair share of talent with Feyenoord forward Dylan Vente who's scored 8 times at under 20 level and many more at lower age groups. Another player with previous experience in the Dutch youth system is Willem II Tilberg winger Ché Nunnely who's pace and ability on the ball will cause England problems. There is also experience in their defensive positions with Heracles right back, Navajo Bakboord and Vitesse Arnhem central defenders Lars Kramer and Armando Obispo all playing previously at different levels.
The names in the England line up will be a little more familiar, especially Ryan Giles who is currently playing his football for us. Ipswich midfielder Andre Dozzel is the only other player currently with a League One team but there are a few Championship players sprinkled liberally about the squad. Charlton have two squad members, midfielder Conor Gallagher, who's on loan from Chelsea and Jonathan Leko, a striker on loan from West Brom. Leeds also have a couple of players in the squad with Spurs loan striker Jack Clarke and homegrown midfielder Jamie Shackleton.
This would be a difficult game to predict but I gave up making predictions years ago when it became clear that I had no talent for it. What I am expecting is an excellent game, played in the right spirit with the stars of the future on display. I've grown to really enjoy it when the F.A. Decide to hold games at Montgomery Waters Meadow and it's lead me to watch more youth football, I even ventured to the Bucks Head to watch a game not so long ago! Whatever the outcome, I think it will be a good night. It's priced well at just a fiver for adults and starts at 7.00 pm so youngsters won't lose too much sleep on a school night.