Jonjoe Kenny ready for Euro semi-final with Italy

Sunday 17 Jul 2016
England Under-19s defender Jonjoe Kenny

Jonjoe Kenny hopes England’s Euro experience from 2014 will help them keep their nerve in Thursday’s semi-final with Italy.

The Young Lions meet the Azzurri in Mannheim for a place in Sunday’s Euro final and a potential opportunity to repeat the title success this year group enjoyed as U17s.

Everton defender Kenny has been a mainstay of both teams - he scored the title-winning penalty for John Peacock’s side two years ago – and now believes that experience can help England overcome their latest obstacle to glory.

England v Italy

UEFA European U19 Championship
11am, Thursday 21 July 2016
Carl-Benz Stadium, Mannheim, Germany
Live on Eurosport

"This is a semi-final, this is where the nerves can kick in, they’re big games so it’s about which team holds their nerve the best," said Kenny, who ended last season with a promotion on his CV during a loan spell with Oxford United.

"Last time [in 2014], we were all a bit younger and you’re still learning at that stage.

"But now, a lot of the lads have much more experience, we have players who have won [youth] Champions Leagues and been involved in league games so that can only help us.

"We know what we’ve got to go and do, so we need to stick to the game plan and we can go and win the match.

"We’ve won three in three now and into the semi-finals - that’s what we expect of this team, we’re a good team and we have a lot of good players so it’s not like it’s been a shock to us.

"We want to go and win this and the semi-final is another stepping stone to the final."

England U17s lift the European U17 Championship title in Malta

Kenny was part of the U17s squad who won the Euro title in 2014

Aidy Boothroyd’s side have already met Italy earlier this season, drawing 0-0 with them in the final game of their first qualifying round group.

Kenny featured in that game along with many of his squad mates, so believes England have a good idea as to how the Azzurri might line up.

"They were very organised, they got men behind the ball and occasionally would break up the play, so it’s going to be a tough game for us," he admitted.

"But it’s a different game to the qualifier and if we just keep our patience and keep moving the ball then I think we can do well."

With the competition now down to the last four nations, the knock-out stages begin and the potential for extra time and penalties to settle any tie.

And whilst Kenny is keen to secure victory in 90 minutes against the Italians, as the man who scored the winning spot-kick in the final of the 2014, he has no qualms about any of those situations.

"We’d been practising pens every day [in 2014], as we have done here, so you just stick to your routine and get it on target," he explained.

"If the keeper saves it, he saves it, but you’ve got to stick to what’s in your mind and what you’ve practised.

"We’ve had penalty shoot-out practice after every session so everyone is ready but hopefully it won’t need to go to penalties."

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels