International stars set for Chesterfield

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Spireites chairman Dave Allen has encouraged football fans from the area to turn out in their droves for the UEFA European Women’s Under 17s Championships.

Chesterfield will play a starring role in England’s journey this month by staging the host nation’s second group game against Austria on Friday, November 29.

Scotland and France go head-to-head at the Sheffield Road ground three days later before it plays host to the semi-final and the final of the tournament within the week.

International football is nothing new to the home of Chesterfield FC, however, after the men’s under 21s and under 19s national sides have graced the town’s stadium.

Mr Allen said: “We are delighted to once again be hosting international football. It will be a great opportunity for fans in Chesterfield and the surrounding areas to watch some top women’s football.

“It is an honour for the club to stage the final of the competition and we hope that people will turn out in numbers for the games.”

England were drawn alongside Italy, Portugal and Austria in the draw at Burton Town Hall.

The finals take place from November 26 to December 8 at AFC Telford United, Burton Albion FC, Chesterfield FC and Hinckley Stadium.

The tournament gets underway at AFC Telford on Tuesday, November 26 when England face Italy at 12.30pm. Spain, Germany and Portugal complete the eight-team tournament.

England’s second game will be on Friday, November 29 at Chesterfield FC at 7pm when they will face Austria. This spectacle will also include a supporters’ fanzone, with the festivities expected to start at 5pm. Scotland face France on Monday, December 2 (kick-off 12.30pm) before Chesterfield plays host to one of the semi-finals on Thursday, December 5 (kick-off 5pm).

England fans will be hoping their national side will progress to the showpiece event - the final - on Sunday, December 8 (kick-off 5pm).

The finals are the culmination of The FA’s 150th year celebrations. This is the pinnacle competition in Europe for this age group, as well as being a qualifying tournament for the 2014 FIFA Women’s Under 17s World Cup in Costa Rica next spring.

Tournament director Adrian Bevington said games have been scheduled in both daytime and evening to provide schools, fans and families the chance to come along and enjoy the spectacle.

He said: “These young England players are a key part of our future game and they will experience a finals that will help them prepare for future international success.

“This tournament will demonstrate The FA’s ability to host tournaments of the highest standard and I would encourage our fans to come along and enjoy a great spectacle.

“A year ago today The FA launched Game Changer, the five-year plan for women’s football. We aim for women’s football to be the second largest participation team sport in England by 2018. This tournament will help support our plans.”

Bevington pointed towards the success of the men’s under 17s side that won the equivalent in 2010 in Lichenstein.

The goalkeeper that day, Jack Butland, has already represented his country at senior level as well as captain the under 21s.

“He is a real example to all the young players taking part in this tournament that experience at this level is crucial in their progression,” he added.

“In our senior women’s team we currently have five internationals who featured in this tournament in 2008 and I look forward to seeing new stars emerge over the coming weeks.

England Women’s Under 17s coach, Lois Fidler, said she was looking for her side to put on a show for supporters.

She said: “This is going to be an amazing opportunity for our players to experience a UEFA tournament on English soil. We have some really talented players and I am looking for them to put on a show for the fans and really grasp the chance to shine.”

England Women’s U17s squad: Kirstie Levell, Sian Rogers; Phillipa Cowley, Gabrielle George, Alice Hassall, Jemma Purfield, Ella Williams, Leah Williamson; Jenna Legg, Sarah Mayling, Lucy Porter, Mollie Rouse, Sophie Stamp; Evie Clarke, Chloe Kelly, Ashleigh Plumptre, Keira Walsh, Ellie Wilkinson.