Football: Scimeca's incentive

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Riccardo Scimeca, Aston Villa's England Under-21 central defender, has been given an added incentive to thwart Italy's ambitions of qualifying for the European Championship when the two countries meet in Group Two at Ashton Gate today.

For Riccardo's Italian-born father, Benedetto, has promised to give up smoking after 38 years if his son manages to score his first goal for England Under-21 in what is an important top-of-the-table encounter. England head the group by a point from Italy, who have a game in hand.

Scimeca Jnr, who captains the side for the first time, had the chance to break that duck in England's last home international against Poland in October, but his penalty was saved in the goalless draw at Molineux. The Sicilian-born Benedetto said: "I am serious about giving up the cigarettes if Riccardo scores."

England have included two new caps in the midfield pairing of Arsenal's Stephen Hughes and Paul Murray, of Queen's Park Rangers.

ENGLAND UNDER-21 (European Under-21 Championship v Italy, Ashton Gate, today): Marshall (Norwich), Rose (Arsenal), Hall (Coventry), Scimeca (Aston Villa, capt), Rufus (Charlton), Carbon (Derby), Murray (QPR), Hughes (Arsenal), Heskey (Leicester), Eadie (Norwich), Bowyer (Leeds). Substitutes: Carragher (Liverpool), Wright (Ipswich), Huckerby (Coventry), Scowcroft (Ipswich), Holland (Birmingham).

Comments