England ace Nathaniel Chalobah targets another Euro Final appearance.
By Nicholas Veevers in Tallinn
England ace Nathaniel Chalobah is targeting a second European Championship Final with the Young Lions, as the squad prepare for Thursday’s semi-final contest against Greece in Tallinn.
The Chelsea man has been a regular with England at numerous levels, winning the U17 Euro title two years ago, before captaining the U17s to the Euro semi-final and World Cup quarter final in 2011.
Now, he stands just one game away from yet another Final appearance along with a number of his team-mates after a season of 12 games with no defeats so far.
"It's been a very good tournament and all of the lads have done well so far and everyone's looking forward to the games,” Chalobah told TheFA.com in Estonia.
"We have a strong group of lads, we're very resilient and don't like losing so we're taking it very seriously now. We've got that mentality to stay strong and stick together.
"It's even more crucial now to try and win the semi and get to the Final.”
U19s Head Coach Noel Blake has set his side various targets throughout the campaign, such as qualifying for the Finals, then securing a place at next year’s U20 World Cup and now the team are just two games away from possible glory.
Chalobah knows there is still plenty of hard work to do though and hopes that the relative experience within the squad can help them to go on and achieve their ambitions.
"Noel set us targets at the start of the year and we're just trying to go about putting those targets in place,” added the 17-year-old, who is still young enough to represent the U19s again next season.
"There's a lot of experience in the squad, most of the lads who have been in the system have been in a tournament in their careers as England players and I think that also tells you a lot about the group. We've all been in situations like this before and you've got to come through it as best as you can.”
The 18-man squad has also been fully utilised over the three games so far, with only Hallam Hope and goalkeeper Connor Ripley yet to start a game in what is a testing and gruelling environment for players who are still in the pre-season stage of the campaign.
With Chalobah able to feature in both midfield and defence, he has been a key player in the group all season and out here too, and it’s the strong team mentality and attitude in place that Chalobah believes has helped to bring England so far again.
"Noel's got a lot of players and sometimes it's hard to pick the whole team so sometimes he's got to chop and change things a bit,” said Chalobah, who was part of the travelling squad for Chelsea's victorious Champions League Final in Munich in May, an experience he describes as 'incredible'.
“We're all behind him and understand what he's trying to do and whoever gets picked we just go out there and try to do a job for the team.”
When England line-up against the Greeks, there will be a few faces familiar to each other as both squads contain a sizeable contingent to the teams which met in the U17 Finals two years ago in Liechtenstein.
England won that group stage game by a single goal from Ross Barkley and after featuring in that match, Chalobah knows that Thursday’s match will be a firm test for Blake’s team.
"I remember playing them two years ago and they're a very good side, really strong, aggressive and they move the ball quite well so it should be an interesting game,” he revealed.
"It was a tight game last time and I remember Ross got a header to win it, so it doesn't surprise me that they got to the semis and it should be a really good game of football.”