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Fidler wants England to get tough for WU17 finals

Coach Lois Fidler urged England to play with "no fear" when the hosts compete with Group A rivals Austria, Italy and Portugal for a place in the Womens's Under-17 semi-finals.

England coach Lois Fidler instructs her team
England coach Lois Fidler instructs her team ©Event-Pics.be

Lois Fidler wants England to show their mettle when they host the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship.

The Three Lionesses will pit their wits against three debutants in Group A in the form of Austria, Italy and Portugal, yet Fidler is taking nothing for granted ahead of next week's inaugural eight-team tournament, which aims to provide "a platform to showcase future stars". The England coach also pinpointed her side's resilience and unity as their greatest attributes and thinks technical ability alone will be insufficient to "get the job done".

UEFA.com: What was your reaction to the draw?

Lois Fidler: You have to put it into perspective – every team is here for a reason. All of them have earned their spot and should not be underestimated. I was quite philosophical going into the draw. We'll prepare for each game in the same manner. There are three debutants in Group A and we're looking forward to playing teams we have never faced before. We have some experience of playing France and Germany, so we know a little bit about them. I'm very excited.

UEFA.com: What are your ambitions for the tournament?

There are many things that are out of our control. I'm looking for 12 months of hard work from the players and staff. I want the tournament to be a platform to showcase future stars. I hope the players embrace the opportunity and show that they've learned. They are more than capable of delivering.

UEFA.com: How special is it to be playing on home soil?

Fidler: Sometimes it's hard to gauge where the players are at because they don't have a lot of experience. I'm probably more excited and expectant than they are because I know how difficult it is to qualify for the final and to perform on home soil. The number of former U17 players who are now knocking on the door of the senior team is fantastic. The players should play with no fear and enjoy the occasion.

UEFA.com: What are the strengths of this current England side?

Fidler: The players are resilient. This year has been a real rollercoaster for us, despite not appearing in qualifiers. They're brave, robust and a tight-knit unit. Those are real core ingredients. It's not going to be about who's technically best, but who's got the mental toughness to get the job done. I'm really positive about what we'll bring to the tournament, starting against Italy.

UEFA.com: Is there an overall favourite to win the tournament?

Fidler: That's a difficult one. I was speaking to the Germany coach, and she rightly pointed out that the teams change every year. I think you can go with past experiences, reputations and pedigree, so you can't underestimate Spain, France or Germany. But I'm doing the other teams a massive injustice, so I think it's anyone's game.