Adams can afford to look on the bright side

England's odyssey to the Orient has helped some players to prove their worth. Glenn Moore reports from Hong Kong

Tony Adams wore the smile of a player who knows he will be playing in Euro 96. There are not many Englishmen who can say that at present and for Adams the knowledge is all the sweeter for knowing that, less than a month ago, he was staring at the prospect of following the tournament on television.

At that stage he was sitting at home, contemplating his knee injury, his mind alive to the slightest twinge. Yesterday he was in the spartan departure lounge of Peking airport, en route to Hong Kong and cheerfully recalling his first senior match in four months, against China on Thursday.

"It was super. I am absolutely delighted with the knee. The timing was back, everything was there. Obviously a few doubts were in the back of my mind.

"When you are out for three and half months there is a lot of time sitting on your bum wondering if it is going to be all right. I stayed positive with myself and I am delighted to have come through the game with no probems.

"It was my D-Day. I thought it was important to put a game under my belt. I did not want to go into the championship and let anyone down. It is an unbelievable thing to be involved in a European Championship, especially in your own country, and it is something I want to be in - I think we have every chance of winning it. But if I had not come through last night I would not have been involved."

The match was a decent work-out for Adams, though it would have needed a poor performance by England for China to have won. They have been very successful against touring Western and South American teams but this was probably the first time they had come up against a side which was committed to winning, rather than enjoying the tour.

"You need to concentrate very hard against them early on," added Adams, "which we did. After that we slowly stamped our authority on the game."

Terry Venables was, understandably, equally pleased. "He is an important player," he said. "He is a leader, he understands what you want and transfers it on to the pitch."

With Mark Wright injured, Adams seems certain to start against Switzerland when England open Euro 96 on 8 June - though Southgate's latest assured performance suggests he cannot be complacent.

The other star of England's 3-0 win, Nick Barmby, is less likely to play, as Teddy Sheringham appears to have the link-man role sewed up. Barmby's two goals should, however, ensure he is in the squad, a situation which did not seem likely a week ago.

The Middlesbrough striker was very relieved to have scored his first goals for England, after missing good chances in earlier internationals, and he noted: "You've got to take your chances in international football, they are few and far between. I certainly learned that against Colombia and Portugal."

The rest of the party's composition is still a mystery, though Les Ferdinand must be feeling concerned. Venables may give some indication today when he names the team for tomorrow's friendly with Golden, a Hong Kong club side augmented by a couple of familiar names (kick-off 8.45am British time).

Dave Watson, the Everton central defender and former England international, has flown out to team up with regulars Mick Duxbury, once of England and Manchester United, and Carlton Fairweather, an FA Cup winner with Wimbledon.

Those with longer memories may recall Iain Hesford, once a promising enough goalkeeper with Blackpool to win England Under-21 recognition. Venables certainly remembers him, he was managing the Under-21s at the time. Hesford is now 35 - an indication of how long it has taken Venables to make the step up.

There is also Lee Bullen, whom only the anoraks and Stenhousemuir supporters will remember - he made four appearances for the Scottish club a few years ago.

Venables said he will not be picking his first-choice team but one designed to clarify a few questions in his mind. Only Steve Howey needs to play in terms of fitness, though Venables insisted if he was not picked it would not mean he was definitely out of Euro 96.

England will win comfortably, with, it is to be hoped, a few goals from Alan Shearer. Even though Venables makes the point that he has chosen midfielders with a goalscoring habit so as not to rely on one man, it is about time his leading centre-forward broke his drought.

Even if it is a semi-serious fixture - no caps are being awarded - hitting the net in a white shirt will undoubtedly lift Shearer's confidence.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

East15 Acting School: Finance and Contracts Officer

£20,781 to £24,057 per annum: East15 Acting School: The post involves general ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: ACS qualified Domestic Gas Brea...

Recruitment Genius: Product Packager / Stock Assistant

£16250 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Product Packager / Stock Assistant is ...

Recruitment Genius: Head Chef

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Garden Centre complex base...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen