VIDEO: Morale is high, says Cleverley
Friday, 08 October, 2010
Man Utd man tells FATV about the great team spirit in the Under-21s.
England v Romania
UEFA European Under-21 Championship 2011
Play-Off First Leg
7.30pm, Friday 8 October 2010
Carrow Road, Norwich City FC
Tickets for the game have now sold out, but for fans who still want to see the game, it will be screened live on ESPN.
Click here to watch FATV's interview with Tom Cleverley.
After making his England Under-21s debut as a substitute in the opening game of their qualification campaign in Macedonia over a year ago, Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley has settled well into Stuart Pearce’s set-up. He has remained an ever-present since, starting in each of the last eight games.
As he prepared for the important first leg of their play-off with Romania in Norwich on Friday night, he told FATV about the team spirit of a side that came back from a 2-1 home defeat to Greece in March to win their final two group games and make it into the two-legged clash with the Romanians for a place in next summer’s European Championship Finals.
“This is a massive game for us. We’ve been watching them (Romania) this week and they look a decent side,” revealed the on-loan Wigan Athletic star. “If we bring our A-game, though, I’m sure we’ve got enough to beat them, but we’ve got to turn up and play.”
Stuart Pearce’s side has seen a change this season with a number of new players coming into the side, performing well and bringing a fresh atmosphere into the set-up. With it has come goals, clean-sheets and three straight wins, a run that Cleverley and his teammates hope will continue at Carrow Road tonight.
The Three Lions will be looking to take some kind of advantage with them to Botosani for the return leg on Tuesday afternoon, and the 21-year-old believes that the morale of the team will help them achieve their aim.
“It was a year ago when I first played against Macedonia and Greece,” continued Cleverley. “I feel really comfortable in the set-up now and I’ve got to know everyone. It feels like I’ve been in this set-up longer than just a year. I enjoy coming away with England and think this is a really good squad.
“There’s been a few new faces in this season and it’s freshened things up,” he said. “I feel that not only can we qualify but we can do really well next summer as well.
“I feel very confident in the squad that we’ve got. We have great morale, good banter and new lads like Jordan Henderson have come in a done really well.
“Jonah (Phil Jones) has come in and done really well, Chris (Smalling) has cemented his place and Kyle (Walker) and Ryan (Bertrand) have played really well, too.
“Not to forget Frankie (Fielding) who has waited his turn and played really well when he’s come in. They deserve a lot of credit for that so if they can get a couple of clean sheets then we’ve got every chance.”
Cleverley will be looking to win his tenth successive cap against the Romanians but is still searching for his first goal. And he’s shown in training just what he’s capable of in front of goal, as well as at club level for Watford last season and Wigan this campaign. He said he’d love to open his account in this double-header, but is eyeing the win first and foremost.
“With my club I’ve been on good goalscoring form but I’ve yet to find the net with the Under-21s, which is playing on my mind a little bit. Hopefully I can put that right over the next two games,” he added.
“First things first we’ve got to keep a clean sheet, but with the quality in the side I think we can get a couple of goals to take a lead into the away match next week.”
Tickets for the match at Carrow Road are now all sold, but fans can still watch the game live on ESPN. For fans travelling to the game, please ensure you arrive early to avoid congestion around the ground and at the turnstiles.
For those fans not travelling to Carrow Road, the game will be live on ESPN. Supporters with tickets are advised to arrive with plenty of time to avoid traffic congestion and queues at the turnstiles.