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Manchester to host European U19 Qualifiers in May

Top level international water polo will return to England this year with European U19 Championship Qualifiers taking place in Manchester in May.

European governing body LEN confirmed that Great Britain’s qualification group will be take place at East Manchester Leisure Centre from 11 – 13 May.

The British team find themselves in Group C, along with former champions Greece, Ukraine and Lithuania, and look to secure progress to the Finals in Minsk, Belarus in August.

“I think we’re pretty satisfied with the draw,” said head coach Sean King. “We knew there was going to be at least one difficult game for us.

“Clearly to play against Greece at any level is an honour and something I’m sure we’ll gain a huge amount from.

“Our Under 17s took on both Lithuania and Ukraine last year so we’ve got an idea of how they might play. I’m hoping I can find out a little bit more between now and May but I’m pretty satisfied.”

The event will be the second time in two years that Manchester has staged European competition, with the same venue hosting U17 qualifiers in May 2017.

“This is fantastic news for the continuing resergence of water polo in England,” said Swim England Water Polo Management Group member Mark Ray.

“We are now a credible player in the delivery and competition of European events. We hope to release an ambitious five-year competition strategy very soon.”

Squad to prepare in Dubrovnik

As part of their preparation, the U19 men’s team have been invited to train with Croatia’s top club VK Jug, by their head coach Vjekoslav Kobescak.

The 5 day training camp from 12 – 16 February offers unrivalled training facilities, and the opportunity to play against the club side boasting many international players.

“Vjeko has been brilliant and put everything in place for us to head out in the middle of February,” said King.

“We’re going to do a five-day camp with Jug Dubrovnik’s junior teams. There will be seven or eight Croatian internationals within that junior set-up so it will be pretty similar to be taking on a national team.

“We hope we can also find a tournament right before the qualifiers in May so we can be best prepared for the qualification.”

British U19 Squad for February Training Camp

  • Harrison Barker-Smith
  • James Blything
  • Connor Carpenter
  • Tom Hunt
  • Matt Madden
  • Tom Manley
  • Bill Moores
  • Michael Patterson
  • John Pratt
  • Ben Ray
  • Ben Riding
  • James Spencer-Boyce
  • Ben Stephenson
  • Chris Sturtevant
  • Isaac Wass