Tom Huddlestone says he's feeling as fit as ever as England get ready to take on Ireland in Southampton.
2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifier
7.45pm, Tuesday 5 February 2008
St.Mary's Stadium, Southampton FC
Live on Sky Sports
Tom Huddlestone says he's feeling as fit as ever and has been encouraged by fellow Under-21 players making the step up to the Senior Team.
The Tottenham Hotspur man has been playing in defence and midfield at White Hart Lane since Juande Ramos took charge, and says the Spaniard's methods have got the whole squad feeling sharper.
He know hopes it can give him the extra edge as England take on the Republic of Ireland in Southampton on Tuesday night and impress Three Lions Coach Stuart Pearce, who will link up with Fabio Capello's men on Wednesday.
"The senior manager watches the Under-21s anyway but with the manager's link, as shown with Gabby [Agbonlahor] and Curtis [Davies], it gives you confidence to go out and perform.
"It tells you if you go out and perform on a regular basis you might get your chance."
He continued: "When I played at Derby every week I felt fit but I think a lot of that was adrenaline. I feel good at the minute.
"The whole [Tottenham] squad has got fitter in general. The first thing the manager said when he came in was that he didn't think we were fit enough as a squad.
"I've had spells when I haven't been playing so I can work more on my fitness rather than when you are playing games. The manager's come in and we're training harder than we were before. We don't get many days off, and I think that's shown in our performances recently.
"The manager tries to speak English the best he can and in football terms the lads understand the point he wants to get across. Gus [Poyet] helps the manager and Jonathan Woodgate has come in and he can speak fluent Spanish as well which can help the manager."
The 21-year-old has made 24 appearances for the Under-21s and scored twice. He's seen a number of players make the step up to the Senior Team in that time and one of them, Aaron Lennon, is back with Pearce's men for Tuesday's important UEFA European Championship Qualifier.
A victory over the Irish will virtually seal a place in the play-offs as a best runner-up at the very least, with a point in their final game against Portugal in September taking top spot.
And Huddlestone says that the team is bonding very well as they look to achieve their goal.
"Aaron has been up there and done well, but he's in this squad and the best thing he can do is go out and be the best player on the pitch.
"There are a lot of us that have come through U16s and U17s like me Steven Taylor, James Milner and Luke Moore. So you get to know everyone and there is bonding there already as a team."