Taylor full of praise for side's arrivals

England's international newcomers were hailed by coach Peter Taylor after coming into the side for Saturday night's Group B 1-0 defeat by Portugal in the Toulon tournament.

England's international newcomers were hailed by coach Peter Taylor after coming into the side for Saturday night's Group B 1-0 defeat by Portugal in the Toulon tournament.

Taylor has brought a 20-man squad to southern France for the under-20 tournament and showed he is not afraid to use it, giving Preston striker David Nugent and Crystal Palace forward Tom Soares their first international starts, before bringing on Colchester's Greg Halford for his first taste of international football after Soares sustained a first-half injury.

The more experienced Anton Ferdinand and Nigel Reo-Coker, who have both played under Taylor in his normal role of under-21 coach, also came in after being rested for England's opener against Tunisia.

Taylor said: "The players who came in did well. We had Halford, who's been playing regularly at Colchester, and I thought he did some good things.

"It was David Nugent's first international start for his country, which is nice for him, and Reo-Coker did ever so well too.

"There were two slight injuries to Darren Ambrose and Liam Rosenior so we didn't want to take a chance.

"We knew if we did get a bad result, it would all go down to South Korea, so we didn't want to take the risk of injury now."

Portugal may now go into the final group game three points clear of England and Tunisia in joint-second, but Taylor feels that because his side applied themselves responsibly in testing conditions, they will go into today's game with South Korea in the best mental and physical shape.

He said: "The performance we made was a realistic one. A bad result would have put the pressure on for the South Korea game."

As it stands, England are level with Tunisia on points and goal difference with the Africans having scored one goal more, and because Taylor feels Tunisia can beat Portugal, he has warned his team to be wary against South Korea.

It looks as though only a freak result would see England fail to beat the Koreans, who followed their 4-0 drubbing by Portugal with an equally comprehensive 3-0 defeat by Tunisia, but Taylor believes goals scored may come into play.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer