Craig Dawson is in the starting line-up for England Under-21s at Walsall tonight
England v Sweden
An Under-21 International
Banks’s Stadium, Walsall FC
7.30pm, Tuesday 5 February 2013
Live on ESPN
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Craig Dawson says the England Under-21s players must start the year as they finished 2012 as they look to book their places in the squad for Euro 2013.
After a 100 percent record in their six games last year, England meet Sweden tonight and the on-loan Bolton defender is determined to impress the boss, Stuart Pearce.
“We’ve got to start 2013 well and it begins tonight against Sweden,” he told TheFA.com.
“Everybody will want to play well, impress and book their place on the plane in June.
“In every game we all want to do our best and be involved in the next one, but at the back of everyone’s mind now is that Israel is approaching, so everyone will want go to be in that squad for the Finals.”
Dawson has been named in the starting line-up to face the Swedes at Walsall, and he’ll partner Liverpool’s Andre Wisdom at centre back, one of three Anfield youngsters in from kick-off.
Jordan Henderson, fresh from being crowned England Under-21s Player of the Year, will lead the team out again, and Dawson has nothing but praise for the skipper.
“Jordan’s a great captain, he’s been to this tournament before and he’s done quite a lot in a short space of time.
“He has great qualities that you see week in, week out in the Premier League. Not only that, he’s also got a great engine and he’ll work hard for the team, putting in a shift every game.
“That’s something which some people might not see, but we appreciate how much work he does for the side.”
He added: “I think we have a great togetherness, that’s through the team and the staff.
“It’s such a close-knit unit. Every game we’ve played there’s always been a few new additions and they have all been welcomed into the side well and settled in nicely.
“Everybody enjoys playing for England and being a part of this squad, and that where the success has come from.”
England Under-21s Team
1 Jason Steele (GK), 2 Adam Smith, 3 Jack Robinson, 4 Josh Mceachran, 5 Andre Wisdom, 6 Craig Dawson, 7 Tom Ince, 8 Jordon Henderson (c), 9 Wilfried Zaha, 10 Jonjo Shelvey, 11 Benik Afobe
Subs 12 Tom Lees, 13 Declan Rudd (GK), 14 Nat Chalobah, 15 Will Hughes, 16 Henri Lansbury, 17 Jason Lowe, 18 Connor Wickham, 19 Ben Amos (GK)
Sweden Under-21s Team
1 Andreas Linde (GK), 2 Mattias Johansson, 3 Alexander Milosevic, 4 Filip Helander, 5 Tobias Malm, 6 Branimir Hrgota, 7 Joel Allansson, 8 Oscar Hiljemark (c), 9 Mathias Andersson, 10 Christoffer Nyman, 11 Mikael Ishak
Subs 12 August Stromberg (GK), 13 Jonathan Azulay, 14 Emil Bergstrom, 15 Andreas Blomqvist, 16 Nicklas Barkroth, 17 Sam Larsson, 18 Amin Nazari,
Felix Zwayer (GER)
Stefan Lupp and Marcel Pelgrim (GER)
David Coote (ENG)
You can read a full interview with Craig Dawson in the England v Sweden match programme at Walsall.