James Tomkins looks ahead to Saturday's European Championship decider in Minsk.
West Ham United’s young centre back, James Tomkins, is banking on a double celebration this summer.
Not only is the Young Hammer of the Year Award winner hoping to help England U19s qualify for the European Championships in the Czech Republic in July but he’s also Best Man at his brother’s wedding.
England U19s only need to avoid defeat against Belarus in Minsk on Saturday afternoon to join the likes of Germany, Spain and Bulgaria at this summer’s big tournament in Prague.
Having already beaten Poland and Serbia, the Basildon born youngster is confident that England can go all the way: “We’ve already seen off Poland 2-0 and Serbia 1-0 in the qualifying stages which is great for me as a defender because you can’t beat a clean sheet.
“We only need a point against Belarus but we won’t be going out for a draw as we don’t want to be too cautious and defending for 90 minutes.
“There’s going to be decent crowd on Saturday and Belarus will fancy it but we’ve got a great set of players here so we’re confident that we can take all three points.”
Tomkins is joined in the squad by Upton Park team-mate Freddie Sears who scored both goals in England’s 2-0 win over Poland: “Its great having Freddie over here with me. We all know that he’s a quality player and he’s shown it for the West Ham first team this year.
“Both of us get on really well with the other lads in the squad. We enjoy the banter and we’ve all really bonded with the rest of the side.”
Tomkins broke into the first team at West Ham this year and is hoping that he can make a similar impression next season as well: “It’s going to be tough as players like Gabbidon and Collins will be back from injury and in contention but I’ll knuckle down in pre-season and hopefully I can make an impact.
“It’s been a great experience playing in the Premier League regularly in front of a full house at Upton Park and places like Old Trafford. Once you get a taste for it then you just want to be involved all the time.”
Tomkins is hoping that the champagne will be flowing for England on Saturday night as it will when he attends his brother’s wedding this summer: “Once I get back home I’ve got a few things to organise ahead of the big day like getting my speech down on paper!
“There’s a lot of pressure on me to come up with something good but I’m really looking forward to it!”