Go one better
Tuesday, 08 September, 2009
Matthew James wants England U19s to make a sound start to the season.
Young Lions midfielder Matthew James is looking to help England build up a head of steam for their European U19 Championship qualifiers tonight, when they face Russia in Shrewsbury Town.
The Manchester United ace is one of the U19s’ more experienced players, having featured in the European Elite Qualifying Round and Championship Finals whilst still a year young last season.
So with this season’s qualifiers coming up in Slovenia next month, the 18-year-old believes a strong performance in the team’s first game of the campaign can only aid the squad.
“I remember last season we played Scotland, Slovakia and Bosnia to qualify for the Finals and we won all of those games,” said James.
“So we went out to Ukraine with the belief that we could win the tournament.
“If you can get on a run of results, it can only help confidence, so that’s why we’re hoping we can put on a performance tonight and take that with us into the qualifiers.”
James has mixed memories of July’s Euro Finals in Ukraine, as after flying out with the squad and featuring in the first two games, he was then forced to withdraw from the squad and return to Old Trafford for treatment following illness.
He still feels that England could’ve lifted the trophy too, after gradually improving throughout the competition before narrowly losing the Final to Ukraine.
“The first game we drew and then when we played Ukraine in the second game we should perhaps have won because we had some good chances but we only drew,” he recalled.
“We still kept going though and got through to the Final.
“I was back by then and I remember watching it on TV and I think we just ran out of steam which was a shame.
“It was hot out there though, Ukraine were at home and most of our team before the tournament had only had a couple of days of training at their clubs so to go there and get in a Final straightaway was a really good thing for us.”
And it’s something that James will be hoping to do again in the coming season.
Tickets for the Russia game are just £3 in advance (£5 on the night) and £1 concessions. Charter Standard clubs can claim up to 50 free tickets while group bookings of 15 people plus works out at 50p per ticket.