Three Lions rookie ready for European qualifiers.
UEFA Futsal Euro 2012
Preliminary Qualifying Round
20-24 January 2011
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By Damon Shaw
England will aim to go one step further than they ever have before, when the UEFA European Futsal Championships 2012 Preliminary Qualifying Round begins in Macedonia on Friday and one of their latest new caps Jason Kilbride thinks they have a great chance.
The Middlesbrough ace is one of The FA National Futsal League’s most experienced players, having played all but one game for them since its inception in 2008.
However, he is the newest member of the Three Lions squad with only two caps to his name after receiving his first call-up for the games with Andorra late last year and is excited about being involved again and playing in Europe’s top competition.
Peter Sturgess’ squad weren’t far from qualifying for the 2010 edition of this competition, finishing runners-up to Kazakhstan in Dublin, and they will be confident they have improved sufficiently since then to mount a serious challenge against hosts Macedonia, Georgia and Estonia.
“I think we have a great chance,” revealed Kilbride.
“The squad is full of ability and has been building up to this for a while now. I think after the training camp we’ve just had we are more than prepared and could surprise a few people.
“It’s a great honour and it’s the biggest Futsal competition in the world after the FIFA Futsal World Cup so I’m filled with excitement and a little bit of nervousness although that’s probably down to the anticipation.
“All in all, I can’t wait to get out there. I just want to do well for my country. As long as the team does well I’ll be more than happy; although a few goals and qualification for England would be great!”
And speaking about the domestic season so far, where his team find themselves sitting on top of the North division, the ‘Boro captain added: “We’ve had an inconsistent start to the season and we find ourselves top of the league, which can’t be bad.
“We’ve shown moments of brilliance and touches of class but also had lapses in concentration, which have cost us.
“We have two massive games coming up against Manchester and Sheffield; if we can take points of them we will be in a good position ahead of the second half of the season.”