Jack Rutter says he and his team-mates will go into the 2015 Cerebral Palsy World Championships fearing nobody, despite being paired alongside two of the tournament’s top teams.
As hosts, England were automatically placed into Group A for the draw, where they were joined by Ukraine, Iran and Japan during the ceremony at St. George’s Park.
Ukraine and Iran are ranked among the world’s best cerebral palsy nations, and while he admits the draw could have been kinder, the England captain says his side will approach every game with confidence.
England CP fixtures
Japan (1pm, 16 June)
Iran (7pm, 18 June)
Ukraine (5pm, 20 June)
“We’re prepared for any team,” said Rutter.
“Iran have come up in our group but there’s nothing to say they’re better or worse than anybody else in pot two.
"We’ll prepare as best we can to give ourselves a real chance to get out of the group.”
While Iran were widely considered the strongest second seed, Ukraine and Russia were the highest ranked sides in the first pot.
But Rutter says England can take on Ukraine safe in the knowledge they are a match for their high-ranking opponents – and that home advantage will play a big part.
“If we perform to our level we can surprise people, turn a few heads and really put ourselves on the map,” he added.
“We had a fantastic result against them when we played at the last tournament in Portugal – a 1-1 draw in which they only scored in the last minute.
“It shows how far we’ve come as a team and we’ll be going into that game with every confidence.
“We’ve got the advantage playing on home soil so can use that to our own advantage and try and get the best results we can.”
England head coach Keith Webb said that the illustrious opponents give his side the opportunity to hit the ground running.
“We haven’t got time to take our foot off the pedal and this draw will certainly focus the minds of the players,” said Webb.
“As a coach that’s what I’ll be emphasising to the players.
“It will be a fantastic tournament at a
Keith Webb England CP head coach
“It feels really real now. Obviously an occasion like this generates that little bit more excitement among the players.
"It will be a fantastic tournament at a world class facility. We’re all counting down the days now.”
The draw was conducted by Kelly Simmons MBE, David Sheepshanks CBE, Dave Clarke and Burton Albion manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – who spoke of his pride at being involved and excitement for the football ahead.
“There’s no better facility to have this kind of tournament than here at St. George’s Park," he said.
"The pitches are perfect, the hotel is great and the overall facilities are the best.
“To be asked to be here and to take part in the draw is an honour. To be part of something like this is wonderful and I look forward to the tournament in June.”