Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 8:53PM UTC, Thursday, 22 March 2012
Fliss Gibbons hopes the England under 19s can improve on their performances in La Manga earlier this month in the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers.
Fliss and Ellie Bailes were both called into the U19 squad for the qualifiers, which take place in Lincolnshire between March 31 and April 5.
Fliss went away with the squad to Spain for a friendly tournament, where she played 87 minutes of their 2-1 loss to Denmark and the full 90 in their 3-2 defeat to Iceland.
Those games sandwiched a 1-1 draw with the United States of America and Fliss hopes those poor results and performances are now out of the team’s system ahead of the qualifiers.
She said: “It was good to be there but the results weren’t what we wanted at all. The performances weren’t really up to what they should have been – they weren’t up to expectations we had set or expectations the managers had set.
“It wasn’t what we were hoping for but it is good it happened in La Manga rather than in the qualifiers and I think it was a good learning curve for everyone.
“It was good to experience tournament football. That is what it’s going to be like when we go to the qualifiers so that was good.”
Ellie admitted she was shocked to have been called into the squad, having not been with them for the tournament in La Manga.
She has been to two ‘training camps’ before but this will be her first call up for competitive games and said: “I was shocked to be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything.
“I just wanted to get my head down and work hard but it is good and I just need to learn from it and take everything I can from the experience. I think I have learnt a lot [in past camps] but I still have a lot to do to continue that.”
With the mini tournament being played in England, there is sure to be the pressure of playing in front of home crowds on the girls, but that is something Fliss believes they will relish.
“Especially being in England, no-one wants to go and not qualify,” she added, “so I think there will be a good attitude in the three games and we will go out, perform, get the results and qualify.
“The coaches have told us about it – with a home draw there going to be a good crowd, expectations and there is going to be pressure to perform.
“That is something we should relish and take into our performances. We can show people what we can do and I think we have a point to prove after La Manga, to show people how good we can be.”
England will start their qualifying campaign on March 31 against Finland at Glanford Park, Scunthorpe, before taking on Wales on April 2 at Sincil Bank, Linciln. Their third and final match is against Austria on April 5 at Blundell Park, Grimsby.