Fairclough delighted with Laird display

ENGLAND C boss Paul Fairclough praised the contribution of Scott Laird during Tuesday night s 1-0 defeat to Belgium. Laird, who had previously represented Scotland at youth level, was at his marauding best during the International Challenge Trophy final a

ENGLAND C boss Paul Fairclough praised the contribution of Scott Laird during Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat to Belgium.

Laird, who had previously represented Scotland at youth level, was at his marauding best during the International Challenge Trophy final and Fairclough said he was impressed by the former Plymouth man's performance.

"I felt that Scott Laird was pushing close to being man-of-the-match," Fairclough told The Comet.

"I thought he had a super, super game. I loved his spirit and determination. He passes the ball well and I think he's had a very good game."


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The former Boro boss also feels there is a lot more to come from the other Stevenage representative Joel Byrom on the international scene.

"Joel was beginning to get in the game in the second half. We gave him a specific role - he's a lad who's come fresh into it. There's a lot more to come from Joel."

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A solitary goal from Brecht Capon was all that separated the two sides and Fairclough believes his players can hold their heads high.

"I'm very proud, because we had quite a lot of new caps and they did really, really well. It's a great shame for us, we've been on our travels with this competition since November two years ago and it's hard to take when you go out especially when you are at home.

"Full credit to the Belgians, they are a very good side. They paid us a very big compliment because there was only one player in their squad that played in their last qualifying game. So they brought in a lot of quality footballers for the game from the likes of Ajax and other big clubs.

"For our boys to play as well as they did against that kind of opposition means they can really hold their heads up high. I would say that the future is looking really good for Conference Football when you've got a group of young players as good as ours."

Fairclough believes that the Belgians scored during England's best spell and that maybe on another day they could have got a result.

"There were two contrasting styles of play - one team (Belgium) very, very technical and one team an English football side with all the spirit. They passed the ball without really penetrating us and without really hurting us and it was interesting to watch those styles and the prominent players in the team.

"We made changes at half time to counter what they'd been doing to us and I felt they probably scored when we were having our best spell. It was a super, super goal there's no question about it but then you know, typical English spirit and Conference spirit we threw everything at it that we possibly could. We used all the substitutes that we could and on another day something may have just happened.

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