Men's Under 21s
Men's Under 21s

Young Lions goalscorer Demarai Gray says England will take confidence into semi-final

Thursday 22 Jun 2017
Demarai Gray opened the scoring in Poland

England Under-21s goalscorer Demarai Gray believes the Young Lions will head into next week’s Euro semi-final with confidence.

The Leicester City forward opening the scoring in Thursday’s 3-0 victory over Poland to set England on their way to the top of Group A.

England 3-0 Poland
  • UEFA European U21 Championship Finals
  • Group A
  • Thursday 22 June 2017
  • Kielce Stadium, Poland
  • Live on Sky Sports

And he believes his strike after seven minutes was just what was needed with a noisy and passionate home crowd behind the host nation.

“It took the sting out of it nicely,” said Gray.

“Their fans made it loud, so there was pressure on us and we had to silence them so the early goal settled the nerves.

“It was a very professional performance, we stuck to the game plan and we had a few injuries and adjustments to deal with, but everybody played well and stuck to their job.

“In the second half we had to get another goal to kill it and once we did, we controlled the game.

“Part of the game plan was to defend well and counter and we did that so we could then play at our own tempo.”

The goal came on Gray’s first start at the Euros, having previously made two substitute appearances in the opening games with Sweden and Slovakia.

And the former Birmingham City man says Aidy Boothroyd’s squad are now looking forward to the semi-finals with confidence.

“It’s always nice to score in an England shirt and at such a big occasion so it’s given me some confidence and hopefully I can take it into the next game,” he added.

“It’s exciting, everyone is looking forward to it so we’ll have a rest and no matter who we play, we’re going to go and perform like we did today and if we do that then I’m sure we can go even further.”

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By Nicholas Veevers in Kielce, Poland