England Under 19s have arrived in Tallinn, Estonia for the first round of their European Under 19 Championship qualifying journey.
They will face the host nation, Faroe Islands and Ukraine and must finish in the top two to progress to next year’s Elite Qualifying Round.
It’s not been long since Blake’s side were defeated by Greece in the semi-final of the European Championship 2012 after convincing performances throughout the group stages. That tournament was held in Estonia, so Blake’s side are treading familiar turf in qualifying.
“It’s only familiar to us in that it’s the same city, as we’re very much in a different environment now, a different hotel, different training facilities and we’re also here for a different reason,” Blake said, who’s side face Estonia on Wednesday afternoon.
“We know why we’re here. We want to progress through the group and make sure we’re involved in the next stage.
“It’s also an opportunity for the players to showcase themselves, but ultimately we’re here to reach the Elite Round.”
“We met up last Thursday and the lads have been really good so I’ve been pleased with them,” he admitted.
“Even more so, given that there are a few new faces in there due to some of the withdrawals that were enforced on us for one reason or another.
“We travelled well, got here on Sunday evening and the lads have come together really well.
“They have a shown a great approach and mental approach to training, and have been training on the front foot. We’ve actually done one or two things differently to previously but I’ve been quietly pleased with the work that’s been done so far.”
The Young Lions will face Estonia on Wednesday, Faroe Islands on Friday and Ukraine on Monday.
The Youth Radar will have all the action from Estonia.