Keith Downing pleased with England U19s’ victory over Luxembourg

The England boss said that his side had done well to overcome a ‘banana skin’ of a first qualifying game

Keith Downing pleased with England U19s’ victory over Luxembourg
England U19 manager Keith Downing | Photo: Ben Hoskins/The FA/Getty Images

England U19 manager Keith Downing was satisfied by his side’s performance in their 2-0 victory over Luxembourg on Thursday evening, but was quick to give credit to their opponents.

The English youngsters dominated proceedings for the full 90 minutes but only came away with a small win thanks to goals at each end of the match from Stephy Mavididi and Ryan Sessegnon.

Speaking with VAVEL UK after the game, Downing stated that his side had completed their objective against tricky opponents.

Downing praises ‘well-drilled’ Luxembourg

When asked if he was happy with the result, the manager replied: “Yeah, absolutely. I think at international level you don’t get any easy games. Credit to Luxembourg tonight, they were well-drilled, well-organised, they got bodies behind the ball and made it difficult for us to break them down.

“We had a fantastic start. You obviously want to go on and try to score a few more goals, but credit to Luxembourg, they didn’t wilt and they gave us a few problems on the counter.

“Overall, the objective is obviously to get the three points and we’ve got that, so it’s a good start for us.”

No shame in slender scoreline

When England last faced Luxembourg at this level, it was a much more one-sided scoreline as the Young Lions ran out 8-0 winners. However, Downing was keen to stress that he was not disappointed with the result and insisted that Luxembourg are not easy opponents.

“Obviously you’d like to go on and score seven or eight but we’re talking about two years ago, two different sets of players,” he said.

“The players are still growing into men, getting more understanding about the game. I don’t really think that, generally across Europe, there are many easy games.

“Teams now are setting up very organised, they know the game, the coaches are very astute so it was always going to be a difficult one. I’d say it was a banana skin of a first match and obviously we’re pleased to get over it and start with the three points.”

Downing looking forward to Wales derby

With tougher tests presumably over the horizon in England’s upcoming games against Wales and Greece, Downing is confident that his side can make the step up.

“I think it’s a difficult group to get out of, all three teams are very difficult opponents and all in different ways. Wales will obviously be looking to bounce back after tonight [they were beaten 2-0 by Greece].

“Especially on home soil they’ll be looking to get one over on their old enemy. We’re fully aware they’ve got some good players, they’re playing in the under-23 Premier League, so we know a few of those players and they’re a good standard of a team, so it will be a difficult game.

“We’re very focused, we know what we have to do and it’s a solid start, without being spectacular.”