Jagielka and Ox ready for tough Euro Finals preparations

Monday 12 Oct 2015
Phil Jagielka captained England in their victory against Lithuania
England made it a perfect ten in qualifying for Euro 2016 with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Lithuania, but Phil Jagielka insists the hard work starts now.

Roy Hodgson’s side took to the Lithuanian artificial pitch looking to complete their 100 per cent qualifying after nine wins from as many games in Group E.

And a deflected Ross Barkley strike, a Giedrius Arlauskis own goal and a smashed third from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ensured England did exactly that.

Lithuania 0-3 England

UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifier
Group E
7.45pm (BST), Monday 12 October 2015
LFF Stadium, Vilnius, Lithuania

However, before the tournament kicks-off there is still plenty to play for as England face off in friendlies against Spain and France next month before travelling to take on world champions Germany in Berlin next March.

And with places in Hodgson’s squad up for grabs, captain for the night Jagielka – who became the first Everton player to skipper England – believes the Three Lions can’t take their foot off the pedal any time soon. 

"This [winning all ten qualifiers] gives us massive confidence," said the 33-year-old. "We knew it was going to be a difficult task to win all ten but that was the game plan from day one and thankfully we managed to do it.

"Obviously the squad was mixed up a little bit tonight but it proves what good strength we’ve got and with the goalscorers, what good youth we’ve got coming through. Hopefully, if we nurture them right they could be something special.

"The friendlies coming up are massive. We have chosen to play against some really tough nations before we travel out to France so it is going to be difficult to get into the team, but if you do get into the team then there are some hard games to try and prove yourself which is what we are all about.

"We are competing for the same goal as we all want to get on that plane to France and once we get on that plane, we want to be part of a successful England team so the tougher the games the better and hopefully all of us have done ourselves no harm tonight."

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hammers home England

Oxlade-Chamberlain scored England's third in Vilnius

Hodgson’s young side could boast just 140 caps between them but that didn’t stop them from starting strongly in Lithuania, with Barkley grabbing a deserved opener just before the half-hour mark as his shot was deflected and flew in off the left post.

Kane then struck the same post five minutes later and this time his low shot rebounded back off home goalkeeper Arlauskis before finding the back of the net.

And with 30 minutes remaining, Oxlade-Chamberlain made the game safe as he blasted a shot into the roof of the Lithuanian net.

In the process, England became just the sixth team ever to qualify for a European Championships with a 100 per cent record and Arsenal’s Oxlade-Chamberlain can’t wait for the tournament to begin.

"We are very exciting about going to France and we have belief in our squad," revealed the former Southampton midfielder. 

"Moving forward, it is very young with some important experienced players as well and if the young boys keep developing, we have a long season ahead of us, then it is a good opportunity for all of us to go and show that we deserve to be there.

"We are all really excited to go to the Euros and we have to have belief in ourselves that we can do something good but obviously we have the warm up games now and we have to focus on those.

"It is going to be a tough task but we need to beat those teams or compete with those teams if we want to do really well, so that is our next task and that is what we are going to go and do."

England's next home game is against Euro 2016 hosts France at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday 17 November. You can get tickets online now via TheFA.com/tickets

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor In Vilnius, Lithuania