The U17 national side have just completed an eleven-day training camp in La Manga, designed to lay the groundwork for the rest of 2016. They have a busy year, with the Algarve Cup (February), European qualification (March) and the U17 European Championships all to look forward to. In an interview with DFB.de, head coach Meikel Schönweitz discusses the training camp and what lies ahead for his team.
DFB.de: Mr. Schönweitz, how would you sum up the training camp?
Schönweitz: We are very pleased with the team as a whole. We were able to do everything we set out to, and are therefore very satisfied.
DFB.de: What were the concrete aims?
Schönweitz: First of all, we wanted to deepen our defensive and offensive guidelines, which we have done with previous year groups. We also used the camp to prepare for EURO qualification, and wanted to build a strong team in La Manga – which we have done very well. Now it is important to keep team spirit levels high.
DFB.de: What do you mean by build a team?
Schönweitz: Bringing players from many different teams together, and ensuring that they perform to a high level both on and off the pitch.
DFB.de: In February, you have the Algarve Cup against the Netherlands, Portugal and England. What are you going to do to prepare?
Schönweitz: We have cut down our squad from 30 to 20 players ahead of Portugal, as we are only able to take 18 for the European qualifiers in March. All players have been informed, and know where they stand are what to do next.
DFB.de: So Portugal is about finding the best team for European qualification?
Schönweitz: Exactly. We know the strengths and weaknesses of all players and know their status in the team. We need to become even more tight-knit in Portugal and prepare well for Düsseldorf. This will be crucial.