DIARY: Henri Lansbury is disappointed with England's early return home.
After defeat and elimination from the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship on Sunday, it was a disappointingly early return for Arsenal and England midfielder Henri Lansbury as arrived back home...
We're back in England and I'm just gutted that it's earlier than we had hoped. We went out to Denmark to win the European Championship, so to come home now, with the competition still going on over there is frustrating.
What is even more upsetting is the way we went out. It's probably fair to say that as a team we didn't play to our potential in the first couple of games, but we kept ourselves in it and knew that a win in our last game would be enough to take us into the semis.
Czech Republic were a difficult side to break down, but we showed in that game that we could pass the ball, keep possession and play patient football. When Welbs scored a great header with about 15 minutes left, we knew the hard part was done and I really think we could have gone on to get another, especially when the Czechs gave us two free-kicks in dangerous positions. But we just lost concentration for a split second and it cost us.
We've played magnificent defensively in all the three games, so to concede late on and then let in another one in the last second to actually lose the game is hard to believe.
I might have started the game too, as I think I’ve been playing well when coming on in the first two games, but in training on Friday I rolled my ankle and had to pull out of the session. Degsy (physio Derek Wright) gave me some treatment with the Game Ready ice machine and some rehab in the pool so I didn’t train on Saturday. It felt like it was getting better. The Gaffer told me I would have played, but because I wasn't 100% I wasn’t going to start. I had a fitness test in the warm up before the game and it felt okay. I had an anti-inflammatory and that, combined with the adrenalin, got me through.
It was on my mind, though, and I could feel it a bit, but I think I did alright and did what I wanted to by moving the ball around and try to get it behind the Czechs. I also came close from a free-kick when we were 1-0 up, but it hit the side-netting. If that had gone in then we’d have surely gone through.
I never thought they'd come back at that point. The foul on Welbs could have been a red card, but their defender stayed on. I asked the ref and he said that there were two other defenders coming around to cover. We had another chance too, when Studger crossed and their keeper fumbled the ball in the six-yard box. There was a bit of a goal-mouth scramble but it didn't drop kindly for Welbs and they managed to clear.
Then they scored with three minutes left and it just rocked us. I couldn’t believe it. Everyone was quiet after the game and there was dejection all around the dressing room. It's one of the worst feelings as a footballer, going out of a big competition after so much preparation and build-up. It’s probably worse than Ukraine with the U!9s two years ago when we lost in the Final as we didn’t get out of the group. For all the hard work that goes into it over a two-year period, and to then go out in almost the blink of an eye is very painful.
But as much as we wanted to deliver a trophy, this is also about our development as international players and we have to take what's happened and use that as a learning experience. I'll certainly bring things back with me in September when we go again for the new campaign.
For now, I'll have a break and go somewhere hot, get my feet up and recharge my batteries after a long season. Not sure when I'm going back to pre-season with Arsenal, but when I do I’ll be trying my best to earn a regular place in the team. I think my performances here have given me a lot of confidence and I'm feeling as sharp as I have all year. If I can take that into the new season, hopefully I can kick on from there.
If I can do well for my club then it’ll give me a good chance to get back into the England Under-21s team. I’m really looking forward to pulling on the Three Lions again.
Thanks for reading my updates from the Championship, I’m just sorry it’s ended early. Best wishes