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

James Maddison says England U21s' belief in securing a Euro semi-final spot is strong

Thursday 20 Jun 2019
James Maddison in action against France in England's U21 Euro opener on Tuesday

England’s James Maddison believes there’s every chance qualification for the U21 Euro semi-finals can still be secured.

The Young Lions’ hopes of reaching the knock-out stages were dealt a blow after losing their opening group game against France in unfortunate circumstances with two late goals overturning England’s lead.

England v Romania
  • UEFA European U21 Championship Finals
  • Group C
  • 5.30pm, Friday 21 June 2019
  • Dino Manuzzi, Cesena
  • Live on Sky Sports

With four semi-final places available from the three groups, it means England either have to top their table or be the best-second-placed team to progress.

And with two games still to go, starting on Friday afternoon when they return to Cesena to face Romania, the Leicester City playmaker is aiming to get the campaign back on track.

“There’s still a chance, it’s nowhere near over,” he said.

“We just need to channel our bad thoughts about [France] into positivity, into the next game because we’ve still got two massive games to try to get out of this group.

Maddison and Aidy Boothroyd during a recovery training session in Italy

“France aren’t necessarily going to get nine points. As good a team as they are, there’s a chance they can drop points.

“Romania were very good in their opening game as well and Croatia are a good outfit as well.”

Friday’s opponents are currently leading the way in Group C, thanks to their impressive 4-1 victory over Croatia on Tuesday.

For many of Aidy Boothroyd’s squad, there will be a degree of familiarity with Romania too after the two teams met at Molineux in a friendly in March 2018.

Maddison was still a relative newcomer to the group then, it was his second trip with the U21s, and he came off the bench in a closely contested game which saw England edge it by 2-1.

But the former Coventry City and Norwich City player and his team-mates saw enough in that match to know they’re in for a real test on Friday.

“So we know a bit about what they’re about from when we played them 18 months ago and they’re a good side,” admitted Maddison.

“We’ve seen bits and bobs from their game the other night and they looked a very strong outfit.

“They were good on the counter, good in possession so, we know it’s going to be a tough game.

“We’re going to have to go there with the mindset of going to win the game, as we will every game.

“The France game obviously wasn’t to be but let’s hope we can put on another positive performance, but come away with the result this time.”

You can watch Friday’s match (kick-off at 5.30pm BST) with Romania live on Sky Sports Football.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels