England U23s become “Next Gen”

The FA have rolled out a new initiative to help players segue into the senior squad.

England U23s become “Next Gen”
(Photo: Johannes Simon/Bongarts)

Following the training camp squad announcement the FA have also announced a rebranding to the current England Under-23 set up.

Next Gen

The revamp will see the U23s become the “Next Gen” team. Although the team will still compete at the same U23 level in tournaments the changes will happen on the training pitch. With a view to optimise the development of youth players and have them acclimatised should they be promoted to the senior side, the FA is hoping to “strengthen the pathway” into the full team.

The Next Gen sides will train with the senior team to boost the development of the youth players as well as aligning styles to make the transition into the senior squad as seamless as possible. Marieanne Spacey will continue in her dual role as manager of the team as well as continuing to assist senior team boss, Mark Sampson.

When speaking on the changes, Spacey was appreciative of the new set-up suggesting the environment of the senior training camps will be highly beneficial to the youth players, who will get to see first-hand what would be asked of them should they make the senior squad.

Praising the current work of the senior team, Spacey is hoping the parallel training will create a strong learning environment for the younger players and provide a strong desire for players to raise their game in an effort to step up into the full team.

With 23 players called up to the senior training camp, Spacey has called in 17 girls to take part in the first Next Gen training alongside the seniors.

The next initiative will grant Mark Sampson more chances to assess the development levels of youth players (credit: Tony Marshall/Getty)
The next initiative will grant Mark Sampson more chances to assess the development levels of youth players (credit: Tony Marshall/Getty)

The squad

Goalkeepers: Lizzie Durack (Harvard University), Mary Earps (Reading), Danielle Gibbons (Liverpool).

Defenders: Hannah Blundell (Chelsea), Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), Sophie Howard (Hoffenheim), Aoife Mannion (Birmingham City), Jemma Rose (Arsenal), Paige Williams (Verona).

Midfielders: Jade Bailey (Chelsea), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lauren Bruton (Reading), Drew Spence (Chelsea), [Abbey-Leigh Stringer (Birmingham City) ** withdrew due to injury and replaced by] Laura Coombs (Liverpool on loan from Chelsea).

Forwards: Beth England (Chelsea), Mel Lawley (Birmingham City), Beth Mead (Sunderland).