England U19s captain says he is fully focused on qualification for Euro 2014
England v Switzerland
UEFA European U19 Championship
First Qualifying Round
2pm, Tuesday 15 October 2013
Mestni Stadium, Ptuj, Slovenia
England U19s captain Calum Chambers says that going into the Group 9 decider against Switzerland looking for anything less than a win would be a mistake.
Following a win
and a draw
from their opening two games, Noel Blake’s side go into the game against the Swiss knowing a point would be enough to ensure they progress to the Elite Round in the spring of 2014 while a win would see England top the group and go into the next round as a seeded team.
However, the Southampton youngster acknowledges that while playing for a draw is a dangerous mindset, it’s important the Young Lions are pragmatic in their approach.
He said: “We’ll obviously go into the game looking to win because we want to top the group because that will help with the next round. The main focus is to not lose the game though."
Following their 7-0 demolition of Andorra on Saturday
and with the top two teams qualifying, it would take defeat against the Swiss and a nine-goal swing between England and Slovenia to knock England out at this stage – but 18-year-old Chambers knows the priority is first to qualify, and then to think about first place.
He explained: “If we get a draw we get a draw, but it’s absolutely vital not to lose the game."
Chambers, who has now made 12 appearances for the U19s since making his debut against Estonia in September 2012, also said that he’s loving the England experience and learning a lot from the time away from home.
“It’s really enjoyable whenever you come away with England – being with everyone and training with the best players your age, and the best coaches – it’s always great," he added.
“It’s all part of the learning experience, you’ve got to manage your downtime and rest whenever you can.
“Sleeping at the correct times is massively important whenever you come away. It’s also really important to get along with everyone, which this squad does – everybody gets along really well and the team spirit is great.
“I think we all gel together really well. I knew a few before I came on this trip, obviously I played with Lewis Baker
, Ben Pearson
“I think there’s only a couple of new players that I didn’t know in this squad – but you always show respect for everyone in the group and that makes it easy to get along, which translates to how we play together on the pitch.”
Chambers, clearly enjoying his football at the moment, has also made the breakthrough at club level this season – making three Premier League starts for Southampton and another as a substitute for the Saints, who currently sit fourth the table, just two points behind leaders Arsenal.
He has also started both matches so far on the Slovenia trip, and added that the games against the hosts and Andorra presented very different challenges.
“In the second half against Slovenia we showed what we were capable of. We managed to keep ourselves in the game and could perhaps have gone on to win it – but we made sure we didn’t lose it, which was the most important thing.
“We really showed what we can do when we put our minds to it – and I’m sure against Switzerland we’ll do the same.
“The game against Andorra was a different experience. At club level you don’t get that attack v defense scenario – obviously at international level it’s always different - but it's all part of the development experience."