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Mo Marley was full of praise for her England under-19 team after their 3-2 defeat by Sweden in their friendly match at Solihull. The former England defender confirmed to Women's Soccer Scene that a younger team had been selected specifically for the match. "It's a new team, about 85-90% of them are actually under 17," said Mo. "Only one or two of them are official under-19 players. We tried a younger team ahead of next season.
"I was delighted with the performance, the girls played some quality football. Sweden are physically strong as always but we were better than them technically. Karen Carney played really well and at 16 she wasn't even our youngest - that was 15-year-old Sophie Clough.
"They powered the goals in during the first half and I thought 3-0 flattered them at half time. The girls had never played together before and took a half to get going, but I told them at half time to learn from it and treat the second half as a new game.
"Games and match experience at this level is what we are lacking. It's been a worthwhile exercise, not just about the game but about the whole week together."
Mo was also keen to throw a sense of perspective over England's narrow failure to qualify for this summer's UEFA Championships. "We've done exceptionally well when we've qualified in the past and this time we had a very hard group. France still had a hard core of the team that won the Championship last year whereas we had around four from ours. But the girls gave a magnificent account of themselves.
The ultimate aim of the under-19s to help bring on future players for the senior team, the latest of which is Anita Asante who made her full debut last week. "Anita's very experienced at this level, she has played in two UEFA Championships and a World Cup, so I'm not surprised she has gone all the way," said Mo. "She acquitted herself well against Iceland, and fully deserved her chance."
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