James Milner rubbishes Wembley fear theory

Click to follow
The Independent Online

James Milner insists England have no mental hang-up about playing at Wembley despite the stark contrast between their home and away form.

But he believes England can exploit the space often denied them in front of their own fans when they visit Montenegro for Friday's vital Euro 2012 qualifier.

England will be looking for their fifth successive away win in Podgorica, where avoiding defeat will be sufficient to seal a spot in next summer's finals in Poland and Ukraine.

In contrast, the win over Wales last month was their first in five games at Wembley with Fabio Capello indicating he could tell beforehand that England would struggle.

Manchester City midfielder Milner said: "Wembley is a great place to play. A lot of players play there a lot with England and their clubs so it's nothing new.

"We've had some good performances at Wembley as well so it's not a mental thing.

"We need to make sure next time we put on a performance at Wembley and put this sort of talk to bed.

"We don't prefer to play away but it might help us on Friday as they have to come out and attack to win the game because that will open things up for us and we'll be able to use the gaps.

"It makes it difficult when teams come to Wembley with 11 men behind the ball but we have to learn to break those teams down."

England have shown themselves capable in the past of earning vital away results in final qualifiers such as the goalless draws away to Italy and Turkey which clinched places at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2004 respectively.

But Milner is adamant England will opt for an attacking strategy.

He said: "At the start of qualifying, the main target was to win the group and we're in a position to do that.

"We need a point and we just need to finish the job now. But we go out to win every game we play.

"Only needing a draw is something nice to be able to fall back on but we're going to win.

"We saw at Wembley (where Montenegro held England goalless) that they will be tough opposition but we've had a couple of good results recently and are looking to continue in that vein.

"It's about grit and determination but you also want your quality to shine through as well. We want to get on the ball and play as well as we know we can."

PA

Comments