Stuart Pearce's Under-21 side begin their preparations for next summer's European Championship with tonight's friendly against Germany in a repeat of the last final. The current captain Michael Mancienne came on as a substitute in June 2009 when a German side featuring the likes of Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil won 4-0, and he is keen to lay down a marker in Wiesbaden tonight.
England were torn apart that day in Malmo and Mancienne is relishing the opportunity to take a little revenge. "It obviously still hurts, as it was a massive defeat," said the defender, who is on loan from Chelsea at Wolves. "They had some good players who went on to do well in the World Cup, so I do want to get one back on them. "Germany always have a strong side and it's good to play against the best. But our team is really good, very strong."
England qualified for the tournament in Denmark with last month's two-legged play-off win over Romania, something that had looked like it might be beyond them in March after a 2-1 defeat to Greece. But Mancienne believes the spirit in the camp has shone through and says that unity will serve the team well when their Euro 2011 campaign kicks off in June, when the 22-year-old should add to his 26 Under-21 caps.
"You play against some quality opposition and it's tough," Mancienne said. "The boys will need to stick together like we have done in all our games. I think we'll be all right, though. We have a really good bond and a great team spirit. We have great unity in our team."
Ipswich's highly-rated Connor Wickham and Tottenham defender Steven Caulker, who is on loan at Bristol City, have been promoted from the under-19s for the first time, joining recalled pair Scott Loach and Kieran Trippier in an 18-man travelling party.Reuse content