By their own standards, England's record at the FIFA U-20 World Cup is somewhat disappointing, achieving one fourth place finish in 1981 and third place 12 years later. The tournament in Egypt in September and October will provide the Young Lions with a chance to rectify their predecessors' poor performances in the competition. After failing to qualify for the previous two tournaments in the Netherlands and Canada, Brian Eastick's men will be looking to impress this time around.
While the squad contains few household names, the current flock of English youngsters have been in impressive form over the last 12 months, defeating the Dutch and Germany respectively.
They began the first European qualifying section in imperious fashion, winning all three games against Iceland, Belgium and Romania and notching 14 goals in the process. This sent them through to the elite group where they continued their impressive form by topping the table once again, amassing sevent points against Belarus, Poland and Serbia.
With a win, a draw and a defeat in Group B of the final UEFA European qualifying campaign, England finished in third position behind the Czech Republic and Italy. Having been lacklustre in the first two games, England produced a fantastic performance to beat Greece 3-0 with goals from Daniel Sturridge, Freddie Sears and Ben Mee to book a place in Egypt. Overall, England fired 20 goals and conceded just four with Bolton Wanderers striker Tope Obadeyi top scoring with four goals.
Brian Eastick joined the FA in 2005 and coaches the England U-18s, U-19s and U-20s. During a 30-year career he has worked at clubs up and down the country, including QPR, Chelsea, Brighton & Hove Albion, Charlton Athletic, Leyton Orient, Coventry City, Crewe Alexandra and Sheffield United. He also holds the UEFA Pro Licence badge and is an experienced, well respected coach. His best achievements as a coach came as assistant manager of Northern Ireland in 1995 and also his nine years as academy manager at Birmingham City and Newcastle United. The 57-year-old will be hoping to guide England to a successful FIFA U-20 World Cup and prove that he is a top class coach at international level.
Although England have been hampered by the loss of key players in the run-up to the tournament, they will be looking to Liverpool defender Martin Kelly to show his skills in the back four. Kelly, who made his club bow in a UEFA Champions League tie against PSV Eindhoven can play in any defensive position. He may be partnered at the heart of the defence by Ben Mee, who signed a two-year contract extension at big-spending Manchester City earlier this year. In midfield, watch out for Michael Woods, who is the fourth youngest player to have debuted for Chelsea and who impressed at Korea 2007. Meanwhile, Manchester United forward Febian Brandy scored twice in his first game for the England U-20 team against Montenegro in August.
What they said
"We're really looking forward to going to Egypt and taking part at this FIFA U-20 World Cup. With the tournament taking place in September and October, we hope clubs release our best players for this tournament. If that happens, we'll have a real chance," England coach Brian Eastick.