Football: Robinson ready to cap his memorable week

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THE WATFORD central defender Paul Robinson will complete a week to remember by earning his first England Under-21 cap in tonight's European Under-21 Championship qualifier with Sweden at the McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield.

Robinson was a member of the Watford side which snatched a place in the Premiership in Monday's Nationwide League First Division prootion play- off final success over Bolton Wanderers at Wembley. Now he will get his first taste of Under-21 action as the only new cap when England look for the victory which will virtually guarantee their place in the last 16 of the competition.

Robinson is likely to team up with fellow centre-backs Danny Mills and Wes Brown in a 5-3-2 system, with Kieron Dyer and Derby's new signing from Crewe, Seth Johnson, the two wing-backs. Up front, the outgoing England coach Peter Taylor, who is standing down this summer is giving first starts to his strike force of Wimbledon's Carl Cort and Sheffield Wednesday's Richard Cresswell.

Cort has three substitute appearances under his belt and scored twice in the 5-0 demolition of Luxembourg in October. Cresswell, who moved from York City to Hillsborough on transfer deadline day this season, has made two substitute appearances.

The England side is still packed with experience and contains Jamie Carragher and Brown, who made their debuts for the senior side in last month's friendly international in Hungary. The captain, Frank Lampard, was also in Kevin Keegan's squad for that match, while the goalkeeper Richard Wright was released from the seniors last night to enable him to link up with the Under-21 party.

Lampard will be looking to continue a proud record, because he has been on target in all four of England's Euro qualifiers this season, against Sweden, Bulgaria, Luxembourg and Poland.

Taylor is hoping for a late surge of interest from the Yorkshire public in the game, for which ticket sales have so far been slow.

England team, Digest, page 27

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