VIDEO: We have the quality
by Jamie Bradbury
Thursday, 24 March, 2011
Three Lions defenders Micah Richards and Chris Smalling talk to FATV.
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England Under-21s defensive partners Chris Smalling and Micah Richards told FATV that Thursday's encounter in Denmark will be perfect preparation for when the team return there in June for the UEFA European Under-21s Championship. (click here to watch the full interview)
The Three Lions take on the Finals hosts - a match you can see live at www.TheFA.com/FATVLIVE at 5pm - at the Viborg Stadium, where they'll meet Czech Republic in their third group game on 19 June.
"This will be key, especially playing against a team that we could play later on down the line in the competition," said Manchester United man Smalling. "We’ll get to see a little of what we’ll come up against. To be able to test ourselves against them will be good."
Manchester City defender Richards, who was part of Stuart Pearce's side that reached the Final of the 2009 European Championship, added: "It’s amazing really, two years ago we had a really good chance and got to the Final but unfortunately we lost. But there’s a lot of players who played then who can still play now. That could give us an extra boost.
"We’ve got some really good players who play in the Premier League, I just hope we can do something this time. We got to the Semi-Final four years ago, the Finals last time, so hopefully this year we can win it.
"The other lads always want to know what it’s like, three weeks away from home for a young lad is quite hard, but it’s enjoyable at the same time. The gaffer tries to make it as enjoyable as he possibly can."
For Smalling, who made his debut in the first game after that Final defeat to Germany in Sweden in 2009, this summer will represent his first chance to pull on the Three Lions in a major tournament, and one the 21-year-old doesn't want to let slip by.
"It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around that often so a lot of us are really looking to crack on in these two games (against Denmark and Iceland on Monday) and lay down some foundations.
"A lot of these lads like Fab (Muamba) and Micah have said such good things about how it went in Sweden and we can really put out a statement by winning the competition."
Richards added: "Depending on how the competition pans out you never know what’s going to happen on the day, but I do believe we’ve got the quality.
"I thought we had the quality last time as well, and we showed that by getting to the Final. We had three major injuries in the last game which didn’t help, but if we have a fully fit team and give 100% then there’s no reason we can’t win it."
We're streaming Denmark Under-21s v England Under-21s here LIVE and FREE on TheFA.com at 5pm.
You can also get involved with the match by talking to our commentary team throughout the game via; www.twitter.com/thefadotcom - use the hashtag #EnglandU21s, www.facebook.com/EnglandU21s , www.facebook.com/EnglandTeam
Next up for England on Monday is a game against Iceland at Preston. Tickets for the match at Deepdale are still available priced at £10 for adults and £5 for children and are available from the ticket office, over the phone on 0844 856 1966 and online at www.mypne.com .