Football: Banking on Eastick's expertise

Football: Banking on Eastick's expertise
Brian Eastick (centre) discussing with England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce (far right) and coach Phil Neville during a training session at the Euro U-21 Championships last June.

Former England Under-21 coach Brian Eastick is assisting the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) as it prepares to bid for the 2019 Fifa Youth World Cup.

The 63-year-old, who was formerly in charge of the England U-19s and U-20s, and served as assistant to Stuart Pearce in the U-21 side, was spotted in Singapore in the last two weeks, making his rounds in Prime League and Centre of Excellence matches.

The Prime League is an Under-21 competition for the reserves of professional S.League teams.

In response to queries from The New Paper, an FAS spokesman said: "As part of our ongoing effort to constantly improve our standards - both on and off the pitch - we have invited Eastick to Singapore and share with us his views and recommendations relating to our current structure.

"He had been involved in several editions of the Youth World Cup, and we look forward to his views and suggestions relating to our plan to bid for the 2019 edition of the competition."

However, sources told TNP that the Englishman has already been introduced to local coaches, and could be offered a permanent role within the FAS.

It remains to be seen what position Eastick might take up, but there's talk that he could assume a coaching role with the newly-formed Singapore U-19 team.

The Singapore Cubs, who are participating in the Prime League, are coached by Slobodan Pavkovic, the FAS' technical director.

They are lying fourth in the Prime League, behind Home United, the National Football Academy U-18 side and Tampines Rovers.

Pavkovic joined the FAS in April 2008 as its technical director and, according to an FAS press release at the time, left in December 2009 to "take up a position at the Serbia Football Association".

He returned two months later and was reinstated as the FAS' technical director after signing a three-year deal.

The 58-year-old Serb took charge of the 2011 South-east Asia Games squad, which failed to make it out of the group stages.

In response to TNP's queries, the FAS did not clarify Pavkovic's current situation within the association, or the status of his contract.

Eastick spent seven years at Birmingham City developing their youth system, before joining Newcastle United as academy director and head coach under the late Sir Bobby Robson.

Notable

But perhaps his most notable achievement came with the national set-up.

Eastick took charge of the England U-20 side that crashed out in the second round of the 2011 Fifa U-20 World Cup.

His best showing came with the England U-19s, leading them to the final of the 2009 European Championships.

Eastick's side, who lost 2-0 to hosts Ukraine in the final, included the likes of Manchester United's Danny Welbeck and Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend.

Eastick left the English Football Association with Pearce last October, after a disappointing showing at the European Under-21 Championships.


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