'All fit and available'
by Jamie Bradbury in Southampton
Saturday, 04 June, 2011
Steve Wigley and Henri Lansbury look ahead to Norway fixtures and Euro 2011.
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England Under-21s go into Sunday afternoon’s game against Norway in Southampton at full-strength as Stuart Pearce prepares his team for next week’s Euro 2011 opener.
The Three Lions travel to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship on Wednesday ahead of their first Group B game against Spain in Herning next weekend but first take on the Norwegians at St Mary’s in their final preparation match.
Pearce has all 20 players currently with the squad available for selection and his assistant Steve Wigley hopes the team can come through the match unscathed. The players will then return to their families before the final 23-man squad – including Scott Sinclair, Alex McCarthy and Kyle Walker - meet up on Wednesday for their flight to the Finals.
“It’s a final step in the preparation and some game time for some of the players who have trained well for five or six days,” Wigley told FATV. “We’d like a win and to be injury free.
“If we can turn up next Sunday against Spain with everybody available everything will be great. We’ve had Chris Smalling and James Tomkins join us [in Southampton]. Chris has had a slightly longer season but everyone is fit and available. Long may that continue.”
The former Saints boss added: “The standard of training has been so high and everyone is fighting for a place in the team. Stuart will have a difficult job in picking a starting eleven for the Spain game, but what you do know is that games that follow there will always be changes. Everyone will have an opportunity.”
Meanwhile midfielder Henri Lansbury is hoping he can push for a place in Pearce’s starting eleven for the game in Herning next Sunday.
The Arsenal man, who has spent the season on loan at Championship runners-up Norwich City, has five caps at Under-21s level and wants to add to that against Norway and try to impress before the team departs for Denmark.
“There’s a really good team spirit and I look forward to playing with the lads again. It’s a massive side of things when the team spirit is there,” said Lansbury.
“The standard [in training] is unbelievable, so to come here is great for everyone and it really improves your game.
“It will be massive to see how everyone’s fitness levels are and hopefully we can kick on as a team. I’m here to prove myself and to show that I’m back fit and ready to play.”
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