U17 midfielder hopeful of a successful week in the Elite Round.
England 4-0 Sweden
UEFA European U17 Championship
Elite Qualifying Round, Group 7
3pm, Saturday 27 March 2010
Sixfields Stadium, Northampton Town FC
England U17 midfielder Will Keane prodded home his country’s fourth goal against Sweden on Saturday and he believes the 4-0 victory sets England up nicely for the remainder of their Elite Qualifying Round campaign.
Connor Wickham and Benik Afobe put John Peacock’s charges 2-0 up at the break before substitute Rob Hall and Keane completed the win with second-half strikes, giving the Young Lions the perfect start to the final round of qualifying for the UEFA European U17 Championship.
“I thought it was a good performance,” concurred Keane. “We scored four, we got the ball down and put some good passing moves together so I really enjoyed it.
“I was a bit tired towards the end; because I was ill I didn’t train at all last week, but after getting a full game under my belt I’m ready to go again against Malta on Monday.
“We can go into that game confident now. We played well against Sweden and we will be looking to get another three points to set us up nicely for the last game on Thursday.”
The only blemish on England’s victory was the red card awarded to goalkeeper Sam Johnstone for a trip on Simon Hedlund in the 50th minute. The score at that stage was 2-0, but instead of attempting to close out the game, England continued to press forward and actually scored twice more.
“It was probably a good experience for us because we might need to do it again sometime,” said Keane, of playing with ten men. “I thought we coped well and that should stand us in good stead if it happens again in the future. I don’t think Sweden threatened us much even with the extra player, so that’s another positive.”
Keane said he was “very happy” with his added-time goal - more because it made amends for an earlier chance which hit the upright - and also praised the togetherness in the England squad during a week which could see them qualify for the U17 Euros, a tournament which, in past seasons, has been graced by the fledgling talent of Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres.
“We play against each other a lot for our clubs, but there’s a good team spirit among us and when we come away with England I think we make a good team.
“We know the Finals would be a great experience, and we know the players that have played there in the past, but we need to focus on getting there first and we have to continue where we left off against Sweden.”
England’s second Elite Round Qualifier will bring Malta to Burton Albion on Monday evening. The Maltese lost their opening match 2-0 to Slovakia.England
1 Sam Johnstone, 3 Luke Garbutt, 4 Conor Coady (C), 5 Nathaniel Chalobah, 6 Andre Wisdom, 7 William Keane, 8 George Thorne (16 Harry Kane, 75), 9 Benik Afobe (13 Jack Butland, 51), 14 Bruno Pilatos, 15 Josh McEachran (11 Robert Hall, 63), 17 Connor WickhamSubstitutes not used
2 Louis Laing, 10 Chuks Aneke, 12 Jack Robinson, 18 Saido BerahinoGoals
Connor Wickham 21, Benik Afobe 32, Robert Hall 72, William Keane 80+1Head Coach
1 Davor Blazevic, 2 Mattias Pavic, 3 Jonathan Akerman Berndtsson, 4 Erik Berthagen, 5 Robin Tranberg, 6 Mans Soderqvist, 8 Carlos Garcia (c), 9 Anton Sandberg Magnusson (17 Tobias Lewicki, 41), 10 Lucas Ohlander (13 Karl Holmberg, 73), 11 Simon Hedlund, 16 Mathias Jung (18 Erik Tornros, 58)Substitutes not used
7 Jonathan Azulay, 12 Kevin Angleborn, 14 Nikola Ladan, 15 Sebastian MollerHead Coach
Tomas TuressonMatch Officials Referee
Ioannis Anastasiou (CYP)Assistant Referees
Igor Krmar (CRO) & Stelios Nikita (CYP)Fourth Official
Igor Pristovnik Attendance