2014/15: Sky Bet League One – Chesterfield v Yeovil Town

An usually mild and sunny afternoon greeted the first day of November at the Proact Stadium.

Neither side came into the game with any sort of form. Home side Chesterfield were without a win since 04 October with a 3-2 win over Sheffield United, whilst Yeovil Town’s dreadful run of a single point from six games had seen the side from Somerset drop into the relegation zone.

Changes were the order of the day for both camps. Chesterfield boss Paul Cook was without his captain Ian Evatt who was suspended, so Charlie Raglan came into the team, with Ollie Banks coming in for Jimmy Ryan who dropped to the bench. Yeovil manager Gary Johnson brought in a number of players on loan during the week with right-back Jordan Clarke arriving from Coventry City and keeper Jed Steer and defender Stephen Arthurworrey from Aston Villa and Fulham respectively – all three went straight into the starting line-up.

The Spireites kicked-off in a game which began with an open quarter of an hour.

After three minutes, Dan Gardener broke into the Yeovil box, but his cutback was comfortably cleared. The visitors though responded just a minute later, when from a free kick on-loan defender Stephen Arthurworrey headed over the bar.

Shortly after this chance, the first corner of the game came for Chesterfield following good work between, captain for the day, Samy Morsy and Daniel Jones. However, debutant keeper Jed Steer punched clear.

But it was the visitors who had the first real chance of the game after eight minutes, when from a Foley free kick, a flicked header gave Moore a chance at the far post, where Tommy Lee made a superb reaction save.

There was no panic from the home team though as they looked to create an opening opportunity with Darikwa and Clucas combining well, but Yeovil were proving dogged opposition and their second corner came on twelve minutes. Tommy Lee in the Chesterfield goal was equal to the task though, punching clear.

Just a couple of minutes later, he was in action again, as he had to deal with a dangerous in-swinging free kick from Foley, which come about after a foul which earned Darikwa a booking.

After this bright opening, the game hit a five minute spell in which neither side made much impression.

However, Chesterfield were the next team to show, as they tried at every opportunity to get wide through Doyle and Gardener. Nonetheless, Yeovil were proving solid at the back with Steer in goal confident in his handling and kicking game.

There was a moment of controversy on twenty six minutes when from a ball into the Yeovil box the awkwardly bouncing ball seemed to strike the arm of a Glovers player. However, despite huge appeals from the home fans, referee Oliver Langford waved play on. Chesterfield were now dominating and on twenty seven minutes had a free kick in a central position. However, the Yeovil wall did their job and the effort from Doyle was comfortably blocked.

Foley though was continuing to probe for the visitors and Tommy Lee had to be alert to punch clear just before the half hour mark. However, Chesterfield continued to look to work the ball wide with Clucas and Gardener proving dangerous, but ultimately the home side were unable to get anybody on the end of the crosses.

The visitors were forced into a change on thirty four minutes, with Moore being replaced by Hiwula-Mayifuila. Yeovil were struggling as the half entered the last ten minutes with Doyle, Clucas and Gardener looking dangerous for Chesterfield; however as with much of the opening half it was possession that came without an end.

Half-time:  Chesterfield (0) – (0) Yeovil Town

The home team may have finished the first-half on top, but it was the visitors who came out more positively in the second period. Within two minutes of the restart Grant had a shot on target, but it was an easy gather for Tommy Lee. Just a couple of minutes later Chesterfield’s Morsy slipped allowing Yeovil in which resulted in a corner for the visitors. From the kick, Arthurworrey had a free header which forced a save from Lee low down.

It wasn’t until fifty minutes on the clock that the home team provided any threat with Doyle drawing a good save from Steer and instigated the first of three successive corners for Chesterfield. The Spireites were now building some momentum; however, the good approach play was lost through poor crossing on a number of occasions.

On the hour though a great through ball gave Doyle a one-on-one with Steer, but the visiting keeper spread himself well to block the effort.

Chesterfield boss Paul Cook decided that on sixty one minutes it was time for change and carried out a double-change, with Gardener and Banks giving way to O’Shea and Johnson. The Aston Villa loanee Johnson was soon involved bringing a new energy to Chesterfield.

It gave the home side a sustained period of possession and pressure, but they were unable to create a decent chance as the game moved to the last fifteen minutes. Looking to give his side some fresh legs, Yeovil boss Gary Johnson brought on Hayter for Grant.

Chesterfield continued to look for a winner and manager Paul Cook made his final change as Ryan replaced Gobern on eighty one minutes.

However it was the visitors who nearly grabbed a winner as on eighty six minutes Tommy Lee raced outside his area to bring down substitute Jordy Hiwula, earning the keeper a booking.  Despite its promising position, the resulting free kick came to nothing.

The home side though weren’t done and a couple of corners in the dying minutes produced a volley from substitute Ryan, which sailed high over the bar. There were three minutes of time added-on, but neither side could conjure up a winner.

Full-time:  Chesterfield (0) – (0) Yeovil Town

* * * * * * * * *

Post-match interviews:

Question:  A clean sheet today and a point away, so a sign of some progress Gary?

Gary Johnson (Yeovil Town manager): Yes it was important that we came here and looked solid. We’ve seen a couple of games they’ve played, not the last one, but even their last one they started very bright against Swindon and the crowd gets behind them and they get runs of attacks – and we had three new players in the team so we had to blood them in as best we could and so we thought we had a bit of a position of strength and then try and keep the ball and break on them.

Again we’ve had the first couple of chances that end, Kieffer Moore’s header and a shot or two, so although you’re never happy with just the one point – as there were three points on it – of course as long as you win your next home game, then that’s not a bad point from our position against a team like Chesterfield that have been going quite well up until the last couple of weeks. I was proud of the boys because they worked their socks off, our quality was a little bit lacking at times, but we can build on that now. I was so pleased with the three new lads because they came in and all had an effect on the game.

Question:  Jed Steer – clean sheet on his debut and made some fantastic saves.

GJ: Yes, one with his feet – and some others – I thought was the match-winning saving save. So yes it was a great debut for him. I don’t think he was peppered as such; I don’t think he was the only one that kept us in the game. Although as I said, I thought he had a terrific game along with everybody else.

Question:  Stephen Arthurworrey looks a different type of centre-half. You’ve had some big powerful lads in there, but he seems to read the game, he’s got pace as well and he can come forward.

GJ:  I thought him and Jordan Clarke both showed pace and were decent in the air. They both don’t panic when they are on the ball. So I think as you say it’s a step in the right direction.

There’s a long way to go of course. To win football matches as this level you not just only have to create the chances, like we did, you’ve got to go and score them as well. Even if you only get one or two chances away from home, you have to go and get one goal and walk away with a little bit of a ‘smash and grab’. So we are going to have to work a little bit on our final third play, especially when we are at home.

Question: Still no goal for Jordy Hiwula. What did you make of the challenge on him by Tommy Lee? It looked pretty cynical as he rushed out and Jordy appeared to be clean through on goal.

GJ: Well I mean obviously if the keeper misses him, he is clear in on goal. He was going at a little bit of an angle, but he would still have been able to get on the ball and tuck it in the net. It was a professional foul by their very experienced keeper and he got away with it.

Question:  And Kieffer Moore obviously he had to come off. Is that the same hamstring problem he’s been nursing?

GJ: Yes he’s really disappointed that it’s his hamstring again. It’s just something that keeps recurring. We give him a little bit longer each time, but it still breaks down. We’ll have to investigate even more really or give him a bit of a longer rest, because we can’t keep waiting for him, bringing him in and plays only half an hour or so. We can’t do that.

Question: Of course a break from league action now. A FA Cup tie with Crawley Town next weekend. How important is the FA Cup for Yeovil. I know in previous season, you’ve been ‘Giant-killers’. How important is it this season?

GJ: Well over the years it has been important for Yeovil. Yeovil and the FA Cup will always go together. Maybe it’s just in recent years that it has not worked out that way. But I mean, we want to beat Crawley, they beat us down there, and they are a side in our league.

So as you say if we are going to build on this performance we got to treat it like a league game and although we are not going to get the three points, you do get a chance to go into the next round and that’s what we’re after.

I think we should mention now because the FA Cup we always get a good atmosphere at Huish Park and our supporters here today were great – they were our twelfth man that’s for sure. That must have been a record for the length of time they sung that one song. Unbelievable. They certainly sang more than the home crowd anyway and we certainly appreciate it, and they can claim half a point.

Question:  Just one final question. Your loan players played a key role in the performance here today. Do you know in advance how many of those can play in the FA Cup or have you work to do this week?

GJ: Yes, I do. All of them can play. So that was a god bit of negotiation on our part. Certainly the ones we just brought in we couldn’t afford to pay them and then not play them in the Cup because they’d have had two weeks of doing nothing. They are all allowed to play in the Cup, so we’ve done well and our friends out there have done well for us.

 * * * * * * * * *

Question: After a few bad losses, on days like this a draw can be important?

Paul Cook (Chesterfield manager): Absolutely, it’s a good result. Every substitution becomes a challenge. What I never like is when people start shouting “get him off” from behind you. I don’t understand that and never will in football. Our lads to a man – not one of our players deserve that and I just appeal to supporters, for anyone who shouts behind me to get them off, that’s not the way forward. Have a bit of respect. I have respect as a manager, try and have it as a supporter. That’s an opinion and it’s valid one. You don’t have to shout, especially when a lad gives the ball away or something like that. The majority of our players now have been with us for a period of time through very successful times and its times like this when you find more out about people and that includes us all, me as a manager, supporters.

Question: Some great performances out there today. Georg Margreitter for example was superb.

PC: I thought Georg was excellent today, I really did. Looks like he’s done his hamstring, so we’ve got another blow there. But that’s part and parcel of the game.

We’ve got to look at what we are doing now. We keep working away; we keep trying to maybe sign a player or two that might help the situation. I think it’s apparent there’s an area of two on the pitch we might need that bit of help. That’s for me, the Chief Executive and the Chairman to try and sort out.

Question: How far along are you?

PC: You know you’ve got to have, if you can, a brighter outlook. I look at Liverpool as a club today, my own club that I love. Three or four months ago they are the best thing in the world and in the space of a blink it changes. I’m not saying that Chesterfield are the best, I’m just saying we are trying to go forward. Now and again we get little hurdles and obstacles to jump and sometimes they are not as easy as people think. My job is to manage the team to the best of my ability and I’ll always do that until the day somebody tells me different.

Question: And sometimes games like this and little periods like this can strengthen players can’t it?

PC: Imagine the mood if we’ve got beat 1-0. When Tommy Lee comes flying out the box late on, we all think the 1-0’s coming don’t we. That’s what football does to you. I’m honest enough to know and I keep telling everyone, I’m a lucky man me. I feel the pressure of all the world like you wouldn’t believe between three and five o’clock, but you can see by mood now I don’t feel it now.

This clubs been here for x amount of years and by the time we’ve all gone – it’ll still be going strong and that Kop will still be singing, but they won’t be singing “Cookie give us a wave” !

Question: A wonderful reception for Daniels Johnson when he walked off. I appreciate he’s going back to Aston Villa today, but how good has he been for you?

PC: He’s been outstanding. It’s a tough league and you’ve got to have good players. Our own players – Gary Roberts – Ollie Banks today, comes back in the team – people forget Ollie got 9 goals in twenty odd games last year. And then the fella behind me shouts “get him off” and I think to myself, I don’t grasp that – you know I really struggle to grasp that. Listen, makes no bones about it, any fan who pays money – I’m the most respectful person towards supporters you’ll ever get – but come on that’s just not right.

So let’s finish the interview on a positive – we got a point.

Question: And a nice positive at the end of the game, Gary Johnson coming out and thanking the ground staff.

PC: Gary’s a good man. Football is about the media nowadays building pressure on managers, and they get sacked and someone else gets the job. That’s football today and we’ve all got to love it, because when it’s going well there’s no better job in the world – it’s the best job – you go and get bought a pint and you’re a genius. When it’s not going so well, you don’t get bought a pint and you have to buy your own and you’re not such a genius. I’ll just keep enjoying it.

2013 UEFA Women’s Under 17 Finals: [08 December 2013] Final – Germany v Spain (Proact Stadium, Chesterfield FC)

Germany: Brandt, Brandenburg, Karl, Felhauser, Ehegotz, Meier, Widak, Sehan (c), Stenzel, Walkling, Specht

Substitutes: Pauels, Lober, Mathiels, Ozkanca, Hartig, Ott, Dick

Spain: De Toro, Nuria Garrote (c), Beltran, Merida, Pilar Garrote, Garcia, Garcia Boa, Guijarro, Sanchez, Bonmati, Gomez

Substitutes: Portomene, Galvez, Menayo, Ortega, Montagut, Oroz, Dominguez

Officials: Referee: Sara Persson (Sweden), Assistants: Mathilde Abildgaard (Denmark), Katalin Emese Torok (Hungary)

  • Twitter feed:
  • Ten minutes to kick-off: Tournament leading scorers face each other tonight – Jasmin Sehan (Germany) and Andrea Sanchez (Spain) – both have 4 goals
  • Teams on the pitch for National Anthems
  • Germany in white and black. Spain in red and blue.
  • First-half: Germany kick-off.
  • First corner to Germany.
  • Long range effort from Karl easily gathered by De Toro.
  • Early German pressure. Ehegotz prominent.
  • First Spanish shot on goal. Sanchez well wide.
  • Spain again attacking. Guijarro wide.
  • Very open end to end opening five minutes.
  • Spain win free-kick wide in Gemany half.
  • 9 minutes: Eventually breaks to Guijarro. Great control and strike from outside the box. Spain 1-0
  • Spain dominating. Sanchez seeing plenty of ball on left. Shot dragged wide.
  • Good play by Garcia Boa wins corner for Spain.
  • Good pressure. Germany can’t clear. Another Spanish corner.
  • Garcia Boa shot. Comfortable for Brandt.
  • All Spain at the minute.
  • Foul by Specht on edge of box. Spain free-kick.
  • Relief for Germany as Ehegotz breaks into Spanish half but cross cleared.
  • Widak and Specht break for Germany but then concede a foul.
  • Ehegotz again positive for Germany but ball runs-out for goal kick.
  • Foul by Karl on Garcia Boa. Edge of box. Driven against wall.
  • Germany looking to get ball wide to Ehegotz as much as they can.
  • Germany free-kick. Brandenburg to take.
  • Garcia Boa shot wide.
  • Spain continue to attack
  • Germany look to press further up and force Spain back.
  • Nice passing and movement from Spain ends with shot by Garcia
  • Walkling down injured for Germany. Break in play.
  • Walkling hobbles off. Receiving treatment at side of pitch.
  • Walkling back on.
  • Spain win corner. Taken by Sanchez.
  • Breaks to Garcia Boa but shots wide.
  • Germany Substitution: Walkling off. Saskia Mathiels on.
  • Germany struggling to clear. Sanchez causing problems.
  • 1 minute time added-on at end of first-half.
  • HT: Germany 0 – 1 Spain. Well-deserved by Spain. Dominated.
  • Second-half: Spain kick-off.
  • Spain starts positive. Garcia Boa dangerous.
  • Sanchez again causing problems out wide.
  • Good skill by Garcia Boa but cross from Nuria Garrote easily collected.
  • Specht booked.
  • Germany as in much of first-half playing too deep. Spain on top in early part of second-half
  • Specht forces a corner for Germany. Stenzel to take.
  • Good claim by Spanish keeper De Toro.
  • Garcia Boa beats two defenders to ball but shot wide.
  • Shot by Pilar Garrote blocked.
  • Great skill and ball from Garcia.
  • Cross shot just wide from Garcia Boa.
  • Pilar Garrote concedes foul.
  • Germany substitution: Stenzel off, Isabella Hartig on.
  • Sehan shot for Germany blocked. First real sign tonight of Germany captain.
  • Germany gives away ball but Garcia Boa can’t take advantage.
  • Widak chases down long-ball but throw-in comes to nothing.
  • Great run by Garcia into box but eventually loses ball.
  • Germany into Spain half but cleared.
  • Specht down wing forces a Germany corner.
  • Bonmati slices clearance for second corner. But great take by De Toro.
  • Spell of pressure from Germany.
  • 65 mins: Fifteen minutes left. Sanchez forces corner for Spain.
  • Specht heads clear for another corner.
  • Sanchez fouled out wide.
  • Brandt can’t hold shot but Garcia unable to slot in as ball runs away from her.
  • Specht working hard up front for Germany but with no luck.
  • Tonight’s attendance: 1,196
  • 70 mins: Ten minutes left. Will Germany find a goal from somewhere, or will Spain look for a second killer goal?
  • Spain keeping the ball. Neat passing.
  • Germany press but cross by Sehan goes out.
  • 75 mins: Five minutes to go. Germany getting forward.
  • 76 mins: Germany score! Specht breaks out wide. Sehan missed shot and substitute Hartig smashes home. Germany 1 – 1 Spain.
  • Spain win free-kick. Sanchez to take.
  • Brandt tips over the bar. Corner to Spain.
  • Germany buzzing. Karl breaks forward but pass can’t fund Sehan. Spain looked dazed.
  • Specht again dangerous out wide. Can Germany nick it?
  • 2 minutes time added-on at end of first-half.
  • De Toro saves at post from Brandenburg.
  • FT: Germany (1) – (1). No extra-time. Straight to penalties
  • Spain dominated for so long, but Germany never gave up. The cruelty of penalties now begins.
  • Penalties: Spain 1-0 Guijarro scores. Spain 1 -0 Germany
  • De Toro saves from Meier. Spain 1 -0 Germany
  • Garcia Boa misses. Spain 1 -0 Germany
  • Sehan scores. Spain 1 -1 Germany
  • Garcia next for Spain. Brandt saves. Spain 1 -1 Germany
  • Widak smashes home for Germany. Spain 1 -2 Germany
  • Pilar Garrote next for Spain. Misses. Over the bar. Spain 1 -2 Germany
  • Hartig next for Germany. Scores! Spain 1 -3 Germany
  • Germany are European Under 17s Women’s Champions.
  • Spain totally distraught. A game they totally dominated but couldn’t kill it off.
  • Congratulations though to Germany.

2013 UEFA Women’s Under 17 Finals: [02 December 2013] Group B – Scotland v France (Proact Stadium, Chesterfield FC)

Scotland (0) 0 – 1 (0) France [Julie Marichaud (62)]

In this last round of games in Group B, France were already eliminated having lost to Spain and Germany. Scotland though had an outside chance of progressing if they beat France and Spain beat Germany in the other fixture.

As it was, neither game went that way. Germany thumped Spain 4-0 at Hinckley and Scotland lost 1-0.

The crucial goal came on sixty-two minutes, when from a corner French captain Julie Marichaud finished with a sweetly struck volley.

It left Scotland bottom of the Group, but with France ending on a high.


Scotland: Rebecca Flaherty, Courtney Whyte, Sarah Clelland (Dana Baird – 73), Georgie Rafferty (C), Abigail Harrison, Kirsty Howat, Alyshia Walker, Carla Jackson (Rachel McLauchlan – 54), Hayley Sinclair (Chelsea Cornet – 69), Erin Cuthbert, Chantelle Brown. Unused substitutes: Laura Hamilton, Sarah Robertson, Lia Tweedie, Carla Boyce.

France: Mylène Chavas, Estelle Cascarino, Julie Marichaud (C), Elise Legrout, Delphine Cascarino, Clara Mateo, Mathilde Jouanno (Perle Morroni – 77), Soazig Quero, Clémence Martinez (Salomé Elisor – 53), Manon Uffren, Anissa Lahmari. Unused substitutes: Elisa Launay, Heloise Mansuy, Ludivine Willems, Laura Condon, Marine Julian.


Post-match Interviews

Scotland Women’s Under 17s Coach – Pauline Hamill


Q: A good game, were you pleased with your sides performance?

A: I think we can perform better if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, but when you are in such a tough group and I think the girls felt it physically today. Coming off the back of playing against Germany and Spain and then having to play against France, I just think physically they struggled. But they gave their all again, and they give me everything all the time and I can’t ask for any more than that.

Q: The French coach previously mentioned about the travelling times from St George’s Park, was that an issue at all? Would you like the venues closer overall?

A: I think maybe going forward that might be something to improve the tournament, but I don’t think overall it was an issue for us today. I think it has nothing to do how we lost the game or not performing as highly as we have, but of course it’s always better if the venues are closer to where you are staying. I think all the teams would probably agree with that.

Q: What about the facilities themselves?

A: It has honestly been different class being at St George’s. We’ve absolutely loved it. It’s been great. Like I said, for me, it’s maybe something to improve the tournament moving forward. But it’s not an issue playing after travelling an hour on the bus. I don’t think personally it is an issue.

Q: What about the individual stadium and pitches?

A: Great, Yes, I think they’ve all been good. I think we’ve been fortunate to experience three different pitches. All the staff and everybody have made us feel very welcome and I think they’ve all passed comment on how good the players have been in and around the situation. The fact we got to play in three different stadiums has been really good for us and our development as a team as well.

Q: What do you think the legacy of the tournament will be?

A: I think that when you see so many girls – with the tournament extended to eight teams, when it was four previously – performing at a high level for their national teams I would hope it inspires other girls to play. I know if there have been any girls at any of the games – I know England’s games have been really well supported – you hope and you can only believe that more girls will take up the game and see the level that you can get to as a youth international player. A lot of the players at these Youth tournaments go on and represent their country further down the line, so it’s absolutely achievable if they come in at this age group that they can come in and do well in international football.


France Women’s Under 17s Coach – Guy Ferrier


Q: What’s your feeling about the game today?

A: We’re really happy about the victory, but not only the victory, but the quality of our game. During our first two matches in this tournament we didn’t play all that well, but today we controlled the game.

Q: What have you thought of the tournament as a whole?

A: It is very well organised. We were in perfect conditions at St George’s Park. We didn’t have to travel to go to training which is a good point. The only thing was that the stadiums were a bit away from St George’s Park. But we congratulate the organisation, especially for such young girls.

Q: What does the next year hold for this group of players?

A: This tournament was in November and December and the next will not begin until September 2015. We won’t go in the First Round, we will go in the Elite Round, so that’s March 2015 and it’s a long way off. Some of the girls might join the Under 19 team but that’s not for sure. Having been knocked out of the tournament here early, we don’t qualify for the World Cup [Costa Rica – March/April 2014]. This was a good opportunity for the girls to learn more and take part in a high level of football. They were a bit surprised at the beginning of the tournament to meet such great teams.  So now they don’t have any official competition, we might have some friendlies, but it will be a long year.

Q: Who do you think will win the tournament now?

A: If we look at the game against us, Germany is a great team. Although today they lost 4-0 against Spain. Also Italy – we had some friendly games against them in September. We had hoped and planned to play against Italy in the Final, but it didn’t work out that way. Spain are also a good team and will probably qualify for the World Cup.

The Scottish team is very good – excellent – a very brave team. They gave everything in the game they should be very proud.

UEFA Women’s Under 17 Finals Preview with England Under 17 Coach, Lois Fidler.

u17“We have had quite a journey with some real ups and downs”

Is it a quote attributed to England football manager, Roy Hodgson? Perhaps England rugby union coach, Stuart Lancaster? Maybe even, England cricket coach, Andy Flower.

In fact, those words come from Lois Fidler, coach of the England Under 17 Women’s team, reflecting on the twelve months leading up to the UEFA Women’s Under 17 Finals tournament which begins in England later this month.

Fidler’s squad have taken part in tournaments in Spain and Norway in the last year, in the build up to the Finals. During April in Spain, England lost to the hosts 2-0, lost 4-1 to France, before finishing with a 2-0 win over Turkey.

In July at the Nordic tournament it was again a mixed-bag of results as they lost 4-3 to Denmark and 4-1 to Sweden, drew 1-1 with Norway, before finishing with a 2-0 win over Iceland.

However, it was the friendlies against the USA that made the most impression on Fidler and her team, after losing 6-0 at Hinckley United FC and 5-0 at the St. George’s Football Centre in Burton.

“USA gave us a lot to think about, they were so advanced physically. Our players did really well in the second game and learned an enormous amount from the experience”.

Indeed in their last friendly before the European Finals, England were the team were handing out the beating rather than being on the receiving end, as they thrashed Wales 5-0 at AFC Telford’s, New Bucks Head Stadium.

Now with the competition just weeks away, Fidler is confident that the squad is “physically and physiologically well prepared”. She qualifies this by explaining that, “for the last year we have been working with them on values, what they want to get out of this experience and how they want to develop as players along with other areas, so mentally they are ready.

Physically we have a strength and conditioning coach who has been working with them and we’ve worked on intensity in training sessions and friendly matches to prepare them physically as best as we can – always being careful in this age group”.

Indeed, it is evident that Fidler is very aware of protecting young players at this age from the exertions and pressures of game preparation and the expectation that taking part in a major tournament brings.

Before the Finals, coaches are often asked who the players that supporters should look out for are. Fidler’s view, in terms of the England squad is that she, “wouldn’t want to put pressure on the players like that – they have to perform to the best of their ability and at this stage it’s all about development, progress and learning”.

Even when looking at the other finalists, the England coach was keen to steer away from naming individuals. “I have done my research but I wouldn’t put the players under the microscope. It will be fascinating watching how the players respond and who embraces the extra pressure and matches of tournament football. It’s a big learning curve for all of the players”.

When pressed about her targets for the England team and which teams amongst the favourites at the Finals, Fidler said that, “first and foremost we want to get out of the group and then ideally get a podium finish (as winners, runners-up or third-place) to make it to next year’s World Cup.”

She added that, “Germany are always strong, France have done well – Spain do well in youth tournaments, but it’s hard to call. Poland won the last tournament and haven’t qualified this time round.”

But Fidler acknowledges that these Finals are not just about what happens on the pitch and is conscious of the ‘bigger-picture’.

“I hope they (the players) really enjoy the experience. It’s not often you take part in a tournament in your country with all your friends and family around, so I hope they embrace it and use it to progress.

For the four regions I hope they have raised the profile of the game and encouraged more girls into the sport. They have all worked so hard, as can be seen in the predicted attendances.

I hope there is a lasting legacy there.”

A new journey for Lois Fidler and her England Under 17s is about to begin.