England’s man with the famous name inspects semi-final clash.
UEFA European U19 Championship
Normandy, France By Nicholas Veevers in Caen
With an inordinate amount of opportunity to make a play on his name, it would be wrong to push England’s Thomas Cruise too much on that topic but just for the record before we get underway, he’s not named after the movie star but it’s in fact a name inherited from down his family line.
Known more commonly around the England camp as Cruisey or Tommy, the gags have long since settled here, it's no doubt the same at his club Arsenal too and the Islington-born midfielder is now fully focusing his attention on Tuesday’s European U19 Championship semi-final clash with Spain.
Cruise was one of England’s best performers in the crucial draw against France at the weekend, effortlessly slotting in at left-back after previously playing in a midfield role in the opening match against Austria when he scored the winning goal.
And following the outcome in Saint-Lo on Saturday, Cruise is now hoping that the spirit and confidence from that result can be carried into the semi-final.
"There was definitely a good mood in the changing room after the game, especially with the way we qualified,” he revealed.
“When there was only ten minutes to go, a few of us heard Austria were winning from the sidelines. I was one of them who heard that and when the goal went in, there was a real buzz on the pitch, but once we got off and all heard the news, it was the best feeling.
"It was like a win really, with the way we played and the way we ended the game."
Few would argue that, over the course of the group stage, England don’t deserve their place in the last four and Cruise feels the same having seen first-hand the games and teams in opposition.
“We've had a hard group with Holland and France, who are obviously the hosts and then Austria,” he said. “All three performed well I thought, so it was good for us to get out of the group stages and I thought we were worthy of our place in the semi.
"We now play Spain and it's going to be a hard game, but I think we've got a good chance.”
"They are going to be a good technical side, Spain usually are at all age groups. I think if we can play as well as we can, similar to how we did against France, then we have every chance of going through.”