Familiar foes for Lescott
Tuesday, 11 September, 2012
England defender says squad can draw upon Euro clash experience against Ukraine.
England defender Joleon Lescott believes the side’s experiences against Ukraine earlier this year can only aid them as they prepare for Tuesday night’s game.
The Three Lions face Ukraine in their first Wembley outing of this World Cup qualifying campaign, only months after meeting the same nation in Donetsk in the summer’s Euro Finals.
With many of the same players set to play a part this time around, Lescott says there will certainly be an element of familiarity around the pitch as England look for a similar outcome to July’s game when a Wayne Rooney header sealed a 1-0 win.
“I think it helps as the more frequently you come up against teams, you learn their style of play,” said Lescott, exclusively in the official England Programme. “But I think this game is going to be a different atmosphere.
“Obviously we were in Donetsk against one of the host nations of the Euros in the summer, so they had great backing and hopefully this time it will be equally as good for us. Being at Wembley, I'm sure they'll be aware of the intensity of the atmosphere, and that will benefit us.”
The Manchester City ace is also expecting a thorough test from Oleg Blokhin’s side, who could perhaps consider themselves unfortunate to have lost the summer’s match and crashing out of the Euros at the group stage as a result.
That game will always be remembered for the ‘goal’ scored by Marko Devic, only to then be ruled out by the officials, who hadn’t seen the full ball cross England’s goal-line and Lescott recalls how tough Ukraine made it for his side that day.
“I think for the whole game, they pushed us hard and played a high line, and near enough stuck to that for the entire match,” he added.
“We were resilient throughout the game though, and I felt we fully deserved our win, even if it wasn't as comfortable as I would have liked.”
Buy the official England v Ukraine Match Programme to read the full, exclusive interview with Joleon.
You can help cheer England to victory over Ukraine at Wembley tonight. Tickets are still on sale and can be purchased from the stadium’s East ticket office from midday. All price levels are still available, but subject to availability.