THE eyes of the footballing world fell on Burton yesterday as the great and the good of the game descended on the town.
Mayor players in the national game from UEFA were at Burton Town Hall to oversee the Women’s Under-17 Championship Finals draw.
Mikael Salzer, head of Women’s Competitions at UEFA, was in charge of proceedings and was joined by former England footballers Sue Smith and Faye White to help pick who will play who at the tournament later this year.
Hosts England will take on finals debutants Italy, Austria and Portugal.
The other Women’s Under-17 newcomers, Scotland, meet three-time winners Germany, twice champions Spain and three-time runners-up France
Mrs Smith said: “It was quite daunting as a 16-year-old playing against women.
“Age-group tournaments help the players develop.
“I’d have loved to have taken part in a tournament like this.
“It’s really important for the girls’ development and progression.”
The tournament runs from November 26 to December 8 and will include several games at the home of Burton Albion, the Pirelli Stadium.
England will play a game at the Pirelli on December 2 before staging the semi-finals on December 5 and the third-place play-off on Sunday, December 8.
Games have been scheduled in both the daytime and evening to provide youngsters the chance to attend.
Earlier in the day, Sue Smith and Faye White paid a visit to Outwoods Primary School, in Harehedge Lane, to take part in a special coaching session.
The children received top tips in a skills and drills session, got an insight into all aspects of the tournament and had the chance to ask burning questions about what it’s like to play for England.
More information about the tournament is available by visiting www.uefa.com/womensunder17/index.html
Tournament director Adrian Bevington said: “We have chosen several venues as they provide great facilities only an hour away from St George’s Park where the teams will be based.”