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Phil Neville on Victory Shield

23 November 2012

England U16 v Scotland U16 - Pirelli Stadium

Burton Albion will be hosting the next round of the Sky Sports Victory Shield when England Under 16s take on Scotland Under 16s at the Pirelli Stadium. The match will be played on Thursday 29th November, kick off 7.35pm.

And Everton star Phil Neville has given his backing to the Under 16s, revealing that these matches at the beginning of his career were some of the most vital in terms of his development. He said, ‘The games I played for England at youth level are some of the best and most important games of my career.

‘When I played at Under 16 level we used to play games at Wembley which was an unbelievable experience. Playing against teams like Italy and Holland, it gets you used to playing international football at the highest level, I remember playing against top class players like (Francesco) Totti and (Boudewijn) Zenden in front of huge crowds and it was vital for my development at the time.  

‘One of my best schoolboy football memories was when we beat Scotland 1-0 at Ibrox and I was fortunate to score the winning goal on that occasion. The games are so passionate and it was a great victory for us that day, like any derby they are always competitive games and that was the first time I experienced the great rivalry between England v Scotland.’

The next generation of England stars now have the state of the art St. George’s Park facility in Burton upon Trent to use as a training base and Neville believes that this will be a huge benefit to the Victory Shield Squad.

‘I’ve been around St George’s Park and seen the magnificent facilities that our on offer to the England teams now and it can only help the progression of players in the future,’ said Neville. ‘If you are a Under 16 player training and staying at St George’s Park for the first time, using the facilities that our on offer and you see the history that goes with the England football team it can only benefit the players. 

‘Playing for England is the pinnacle of any player’s career and to me St George’s Park will be a constant reminder to young footballers of what’s needed to become a top player in the game. It has first class facilities throughout the centre, the best pitches, the best hotels and the best rehabilitation and if players want more of that excellence throughout their careers they will strive to work as hard as they possibly can.

Everton are a club renowned for producing home grown talent with a number of England youth internationals coming from their ranks in recent years, with Neveille continuing, ‘Everton place a lot on their youth policy, the manager (David Moyes) always wants to promote and include young players in his squad. 

‘We have a lot of youth players in the England development system with Ryan Ledson and John Lundstram captaining the Under 16s and Under 19s respectively. Both players are highly thought of at the club and to captain your country at such a young age is a huge honour. In the Under 19s tournament last season we had Garbutt, Barkley and Lundstram all playing in that side and all progressing at the football club. 

‘The fans can relate to these youth players, there is nothing better for a fan to come to Goodison Park on a Saturday afternoon and see a young local player coming through the youth system. Everton have always had a great history of developing youth players with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Leon Osman and James Vaughan all coming through and playing for England at youth level and I think that is the way Everton will be going forward in the future.’

Sky Sports Victory Shield
England U16 v Scotland U16
Pirelli Stadium
Thursday 29th November – Kick Off 7.35pm

Ticket Prices
Adults: £3
Over 65s / Under 16: £1

Tickets available by contacting Burton Albion on 01283 565938 or by visiting the Club Shop.

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