VIDEO: 'We are strong enough'
Monday, 15 November, 2010
Michael Mancienne believes England have the spirit to go all the way.
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England Under-21s fly out to Germany on Monday ahead of their final match of 2010 but their first in their seven-month preparation campaign for next summer's European Championship.
Stuart Pearce's men sealed their passage to Denmark last month with a two-legged play-off win against Romania, and captain Michael Mancienne believes England can go all the way after coming so close in the last two tournaments.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers defender was in the side that lost 4-0 to Germany in the Final of Euro 2009, and he says defeat in Sweden still hurts. As they look to build towards Euro 2011, he's hoping they can get a victory over the Germans to start the preparations in style.
"It obviously still hurts as it was a massive defeat. They had some good players who went on to do well in the World Cup, so I do want to get one back on them," he told TheFA.com shortly after meeting up with the squad on Sunday.
"I'm looking forward to the occasion. Germany always have a strong side and it's good to play against the best. But our team is really good, very strong and I think we'll do well.
"It's a massive thing that we've qualified. They haven't, but it'll still be good to try and beat them."
"It's good for the manager to see some players he's not had the chance to see and they can show him what they can do. It's also good to get together and be on these trips to keep us going forward."
Mancienne, who has skippered the side for the last four games in qualification, will claim his 27th cap at Under-21 level if he plays in Tuesday's game, which will be streamed live on FATV. He says that experience will count for a lot in the Finals and having been a part of a major tournament before, he says he knows what to expect.
He also reckons the team spirit in the squad, that has taken a side who looked almost out of the competition in March after defeat to Greece to a place in the Finals will be a major plus point when they land in Denmark for their opening encounter with Spain on 12 June.
"You need your rest between games as they come around think and fast. You play against some quality opposition and it's tough. The boys will need to stick together like we have done in all our games. I think we'll be alright though, we have a really good bond and a great team spirit.
"We've come on so much. The boys have really got to know each other. To be honest, back then [in March], we had a little struggle, but we've come through it and it shows just how strong our team is. I don't think a lot of teams would have been able to do what we've done and qualify. We have great unity in our team."
The 22-year-old, currently on loan at Molineux from Chelsea, added: "It's a great honour to be playing with the boys that I am playing with and to captain them when I have. Hopefully I can have more of that."
"I think we've just got to keep on doing what we've been doing and grow as a team. Hopefully we can actually win that Final this time - we have a strong enough team to do so."
You can follow England Under-21s during the build-up and throughout next summer's Finals right here on TheFA.com and also at www.facebook.com/EnglandU21s.