Konchesky hopes to force open door to senior squad

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The Independent Football

Paul Konchesky may have seen one door close on next summer's European Championship on Tuesday night, but he is determined that the other will not.

Despite being part of an England Under-21 squad which cannot qualify for the finals after the 2-1 defeat by Portugal at Goodison Park, Konchesky still harbours ambitions of being involved with the seniors. Last month his transfer request was reluctantly granted by Charlton Athletic, the 22-year-old feeling that he needed a move to realise his international ambitions.

At the 11th hour on transfer deadline day, Tottenham Hotspur offered a one-month loan, with Chris Perry moving in the opposite direction.

The left-back, who maintains his decision was purely football-based, is undeterred by the fact that Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge are ahead of him in the England pecking order, and hopes that Sven Goran Eriksson will pay a visit to White Hart Lane over the next few weeks.

"It's a good move for me to get myself going again," he said. "I'm working really hard and that's going to be my aim, to do well at Tottenham and hopefully get a sniff of the full [England] team.

"I know Ashley and Wayne have done brilliantly to stay in the team and they've not put a foot wrong when they've played, but anything could happen. I will keep fighting hard and if anything happens or they're not in the best of form, then hopefully I'll get a sniff.

"With Sven going to league games, if I can do well for Tottenham in the Premiership then hopefully he'll be there."

Konchesky played his last match for the Under-21s at Goodison, for although there is one final group match in Turkey to play, he will not be involved because of suspension. The news was delivered by the FA press officer during the media conference, which caught Konchesky by surprise, but there remains a desire among the rest of the squad at least to end the campaign on a high.

"Everyone wants to beat Turkey," Konchesky said. "It would be a good way to go out, with a win in Istanbul."

David Platt and his squad will want to forget the galling end to their hopes, which came courtesy of a handball goal from Helder Postiga. Konchesky has promised to have a chat with his Tottenham team-mate, a £6.25m summer signing.

"I'll have a few words," he said. "I don't really know Helder, but when I do get to know him then I'll start saying a few things. Everybody could see it was a blatant handball. It was a horrible way to concede a goal and a cruel way to go out.

"The referee wouldn't speak to anyone after he gave the goal. He wouldn't even look at the replay on the television. He just made his decision and you can't change that. We're really gutted [to go out] because it means a lot to the English boys, particularly for the older ones. They went to the finals last year and we thought this would be a good year for us."

In Ahlen, the Dundee goalkeeper Derek Soutar played down his contribution to the Scotland Under-21 side's surprise victory in Germany.

The Celtic striker Shaun Maloney won most of the plaudits. The substitute scored the only goal after being set up by the Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher, who also caught the eye. But a victory that took the Scots to the top of their European Championship qualifying group could not have been achieved without a fine performance from Soutar.

He pulled off saves inside the opening seven minutes to deny Christian Tiffert and Mimoun Azaouagh and later tipped over headers from Alexander Madlung and Benjamin Auer.

"I'm happy enough," Soutar said. "There are a couple of things I need to work on. It was actually only my second game back after being out for a few weeks. It was the same across in Iceland. They just bombarded us, but the boys at the back did well. Stephen Crainey had a few cleared off the line, Gary Caldwell made a few last-ditch tackles and David McCracken was brilliant."

Scotland will win the group if they win their final match, at home to Lithuania next month. Germany, level on 10 points, were pushed down to second because of an inferior head-to-head record against Scotland.