Middlesbrough ace Szilard Nemeth aims to put his recent disappointments for Slov
Middlesbrough ace Szilard Nemeth aims to put his recent disappointments for Slovakia behind him when he faces England on Saturday as he explains to TheFA.com Middlesbrough striker Szilard Nemeth has a double incentive to sink England in this weekend's European Championship qualifier.
Firstly, the match will be played in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, where Nemeth played for Inter Bratislava before Boro bought him for £3million in 2001.
Secondly, although the lively and pacy forward has shown excellent club form this season, scoring three times in Boro's rise to third place in the Premierhsip, he is looking for a change in his luck at international level.
This season Nemeth was injured playing in Slovakia's final warm-up game before their European Championship qualifiers - a hamstring pull that cost him a place at Boro - and then wasn't used in the first qualifying game, a disappointing 3-0 defeat in Turkey.
"I was named in the squad for Turkey but although the coach Jurkemik asked me about the injury and I said it was fine, he didn't select me. That was a pity," says Nemeth.
"We played very badly against Turkey and England is a big, big test for us. But we start all-square."
Nemeth flattered to deceive last season but he started the current campaign firing on all cylinders, even being selected ahead of Alen Boksic until his injury let the Croatian in. It's obviously boosted his confidence and he is already making his excuses if his goals upset McClaren, Southgate and Boro fans.
"I want to apologise in advance if I score," smiles the 25-year-old whose sporting hero is basketball superstar Michael Jordan.
"I know Rio Ferdinand is injured and Gareth could play instead. It would be an honour to play against him in an international because I know what a good player he is.
"Last season I missed pre-season to have a hernia operation. This season it has been different, I did good preparation in the summer and I'm in good physical condition."
Nemeth's main asset is his pace - as Sunderland fans will testify when he scored twice in the recent Tees-Wear derby. McClaren of course is in a perfect position to advise Sven on how to stop the speedy Slovakian.
"He is a quality striker and we've seen this season he is capable of scoring goals," says McClaren, who hasn't been able to carry out his earlier threat that he would declare Nemeth injured for Saturday's big game!
SLOVAKIA & THE PREMIERSHIP
Vladimir Kinder was the first Slovakian to play in the Premiership when he joined Middlesbrough from Slovan Bratislava in 1997. The full-back didn't have the happiest time at The Riverside though and is perhaps best known for being sent off in that season's FA Cup semi-final against Chesterfield.
Kinder, now 33, is currently playing in Slovakia for Petrzalka Bratislava who attract bigger crowds than their better-known city rivals Slovan and Inter.
Two Slovakians are currently in the Premiership but not in the squad for the weekend. West Brom defender Igor Balis has retired from international football but is still in good form for his club, scoring in last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Newcastle.
Vladimir Labant joined West Ham for £900,000 from Sparta Prague at the beginning of the year but is competing with Nigel Winterburn and Scott Minto for the left-back spot and has yet to make a Premiership start this season.
Stanislav Varga was Slovakian captain when Sunderland signed him in 2000 from Slovan Bratislava. But he was loaned out to West Brom last season and hasn't even got a squad number at The Stadium of Light this season.