Dalton ready to play at 'dream venue' for England Futsal

Thursday 26 Feb 2015
James Dalton is vice-captain to England Futsal skipper Ben Mortlock
England goalkeeper James Dalton can’t wait to play at a “wonderful venue for Futsal” at the Copper Box Arena this week.

The Three Lions take on Sweden twice at the Olympic Park venue, with a game on Friday evening and then Saturday afternoon.

And after featuring against the Scandinavians in Sweden last year, when they lost and drew, vice-captain Dalton is hoping for better fortunes this time.

England v Sweden

Futsal International
7.30pm, Friday 27 February 2015
4pm, Saturday 28 February 2015
Copper Box Arena, London

"Sweden played well against us last year, but as a squad we go into these matches with a lot of confidence from our recent results,” he said. 

"I believe we have won eight out of our last 11 matches since we last met Sweden, so we are looking forward to continuing this good run of form this weekend at such a wonderful venue for Futsal."

These games see a quick return to action for head coach Peter Sturgess and his side after their Euro Qualifiers last month.

But two wins against Malta and Andorra and a draw with Latvia didn’t prove enough for England to progress to the Main Round, something which the Baku United player is keen to forget.

"It was extremely disappointing to miss out on qualification for the Main Round by such a narrow margin," he admitted.

"The tournament was tough, having to play three competitive matches in four days but we can come out of it with a lot of positives. 

"But the preparation for the FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifiers in October begins this weekend, and I’m sure we will use the disappointment of Malta to fuel a successful campaign in the autumn."

With over 50 caps to his name, Dalton is one of the most experienced players in the Three Lions squad.

And he believes the game is on a steady rise in England with the development of Futsal leagues and competitions and more younger players taking it up.

"I think the squad is now performing more consistently compared to when I joined the programme," he revealed.

"Our progress up the world rankings and results over the past 18 months suggests this. 

"I feel this improvement has occurred as a result of the players playing more Futsal in The FA National Futsal League, FA Futsal Cup and when we meet together at training camps and matches."

Dalton was speaking exclusively to the England programme, which you can purchase by clicking here.

By Nicholas Veevers