SOUTHGATE PRAISES THE HOLLAND INFLUENCE

Posted on: Tue 03 Sep 2013

Chelsea assistant first team coach Steve Holland has had an immediate impact on the England Under-21 squad, earning the praise of new manager Gareth Southgate.

Holland has been involved with the group ahead of forthcoming European Championship qualifiers against Moldova and Finland.

He has plenty of experience working with young players having previously taken charge of the Chelsea reserve side, as well as being Academy Director at Crewe Alexandra, and Southgate has been impressed.

'He's been terrific and we're very fortunate to have someone of Steve's experience and pedigree,' Southgate told theFA.com.

'He's been involved at every level of the game and now the very highest level after five or six years at Chelsea.

'We're very grateful to Chelsea for letting us have him and I'm delighted to have him alongside me.

'He'll have a big impact on everybody.'

The squad have been training at St George's Park since meeting up on Sunday, but they will head to Berkshire tomorrow (Wednesday) to put the finishing touches to preparations for Thursday's game against Moldova, which takes place at Reading's Madejski Stadium, before playing away in Finland next Monday.

Chelsea duo Nathaniel Chalobah and Todd Kane are part of Southgate's squad for the double-header and will hope to be involved over the course of the two matches.

Chalobah, who signed a new five-year contract at Stamford Bridge last week, has eight caps at Under-21 level for England after making his debut against Northern Ireland last November.

Kane, meanwhile, is currently on loan at Blackburn Rovers and has started the season in fine fashion for the Championship club.

The young right-back earned a first call-up to the Under-21s for their win over Scotland last month, although he was an unused substitute.

As well as being Southgate's first in charge, Thursday's game against Moldova sees England return to competitive action for the first time since a disappointing showing at this summer's European Championships.

Failure to win a single match in Israel led to the dismissal of former manager Stuart Pearce, with Southgate and Holland aware that a marked improvement is required as they bid to secure a place at Euro' 2015 in Czech Republic.