Platt aims to build on Dutch success

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The Independent Football

David Platt will send out his England Under-21 side against Germany urging them to set the scene for the big one 24 hours later.

Platt's youngsters, like their senior colleagues, need to win in Freiburg tonight to keep the hopes of European Championships qualification alive. England go into the game on a genuine high after dismantling the Netherlands in Platt's first game in charge earlier this month at Reading, but the 35-year-old knows he will face a different proposition in his first competitive game.

"It is very difficult," admitted Platt, a veteran of 62 internationals. "There haven't been too many away victories in Germany over the years. At under-21 level, they're very strong- minded, they have strong discipline and they are well-organised, so it is a very difficult task we have. My first job is to take away any euphoria they might have left over from the Holland performance, but if we perform like we did against the Dutch I know we are capable of going there and winning."

The under-21s go straight from Germany into a showdown with Albania at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium four days later.

Platt's plans have been hampered by suspensions to his new captain John Terry and the Charlton defender Luke Young, who were both sent off in a stormy 3-1 defeat in Greece on 5 June, while injury has ruled out the influential Blackburn midfielder David Dunn.

In addition, there have been four withdrawals from the initial squad with the Derby duo Chris Riggott and Malcolm Christie, the Ipswich defender Titus Bramble and the Manchester City goalkeeper Nick Weaver unfit. The Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi, the Blackburn defender Martin Taylor and the Chelsea goalkeeper Rhys Evans joined up with the 23-man party as replacements ahead of yesterday's departure for Germany.

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