Keith Downing hopes England U19 glory can help sustain national success
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 15/07/17 10:26pm
England U19s coach Keith Downing hopes the success of the Young Lions this summer can continue to drive all of the teams on to further glory.
His side delivered a first U19 European Championship title with a 2-1 victory over Portugal in Georgia on Saturday, adding to recent wins for the England youth teams.
The Young Lions enjoyed historic success at the U20 World Cup and the Toulon Tournament, while reaching the final of the U17 Euros and the U21s then made the semi-finals of their European Championship in Poland last month, losing on penalties to Germany.
"It has created a huge momentum this year," Downing told www.uefa.com. "We have heavily invested in St George's Park in the last five years. What we need to do now is sustain this success and continue working through all the age groups.
"It has been a big year for us and we'll enjoy it, but we'll continue to work."
Man City forward Lukas Nmecha swept in what proved to be the winner after 68 minutes at the Tengiz Burjanadze Stadium in Gori after Aston Villa defender Easah Suliman nodded England in front at the start of the second half only for an own goal from Chelsea right-back Dujon Sterling to level things up.
England finished the match with 10 men after Fulham's Tayo Edun collected a second yellow card in the 86th minute but were not to be denied their moment of triumph, having last won the then U18 European Championship crown in 1993.
"We showed another side of ourselves today, more of a defensive side - there was some real good defending, individually and as a group," Downing added.
"Every game is tough - the Czech Republic gave us a real tough game and Portugal did so again today, but these boys are real talented youngsters. Six boys are under 18 so it's a young group, but they showed resilience as well as quality.
"We were a little bit nervous, edgy, but we grew into the game and got a foothold in the game the last 15 minutes of the first half.
"At half-time we asked them to relax, believe in themselves and play the football they have in the tournament. With the sending-off we dug in, showed great character and got us over the line."