'We have the talent' says Henri
Wednesday, 29 February, 2012
Lansbury says England will be buzzing if they can beat Belgium.
Henri Lansbury says that victory over Belgium in Middlesbrough on Wednesday night will help catapult England Under-21s nearer a Euro 2013 play-off place.
The Three Lions could extend their lead at the top of Group 8 to seven points, and the West Ham United midfielder believes that confidence would be high in the squad ahead of their final two qualifiers in September.
Lansbury, on loan at Upton Park from Arsenal, also had special praise for his Gunners club-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who, like Lansbury, has bagged three times for the Under-21s.
"We have a massive amount of talent in the squad," said Lansbury. "If the lads go out and produce we will have a great chance of winning the game and almost securing our place in the play-offs.
"There will then be a buzz around the team and more confidence going into the next games in September.
"I haven’t been playing every game at West Ham, so coming here is good to hopefully get 90 minutes under my belt. It’s just good to play football."
He continued. "Alex is a great young player and he’s exciting to play with, you never know what he’s going to do. You can take a gamble with him, just give him the ball and let his natural ability take over."
For this game, the Under-21s have Brian Eastick in charge while Stuart Pearce is at the helm of the Senior Team. Lansbury says that things remain almost the same in the camp and is pleased that Pearce has been given the opportunity to lead his country against Holland at Wembley.
"It’s great for him, I was very happy for him when he told me he was taking it. So it was a little different with him not being here, but we’ve been able to keep it as normal as possible going into the game."
He added: "He’s a great manager and great around the players. He’s been there himself and obviously knows what he’s talking about, I think the players respect him for that. He’s passionate for the country and he always wants England to win. He’s taught me a lot since I’ve been in the Under-21s."
Lansbury also joked that he'd be happy to help the Under-21s out again, should he be needed to go in goal. The 21-year-old pulled on the gloves for England in a friendly defeat to Germany in November 2010 after sub keeper Jason Steele was sent off.
Then last week, for the Hammers, he stepped up after their no.1 Robert Green was dismissed in the second half, and kept a clean sheet as the beat Blackpool 4-1, but he has no long term plans to become a keeper just yet.
"It's just temporary at the moment," he said. "It was good to go in goal, I’ve played there for England, but maybe it was a little bit nervy going in for West Ham. It was a good day and a good win.
"They asked me if I’ve ever been in goal and I said I did a bit for England, so not having a goalkeeper on the bench it always looked like I was going in so I just got up and put the gloves on. So if necessary on Wednesday night, I will!"
Tickets for England's meeting with Belgium on Wednesday 29 February 2012 (6pm ko) are still on sale. Call 0844 499 1234, buy online at www.mfc.co.uk or in person at the Riverside ticket office.