Scott Parker praises England commitment following France draw

 

Scott Parker praised England's big hearts and commitment after they held France to a 1-1 draw in their opening Euro 2012 clash.

But the Tottenham midfielder is unsure whether such qualities alone will be sufficient to win tournaments.

Midfielder Parker played a key part in helping to stifle the threat of France who dominated possession and were the better side during the second half.

Now England will look to build on their encouraging start against Sweden in Kiev on Friday and then host nation Ukraine in Donetsk on Tuesday.

Parker said: "I think it was a good result and something for us to build on. We did pretty well.

"We were disappointed to concede against a good French team but sometimes they are going to stretch you a bit. They have very good individuals who get into pockets all over the pitch.

"We probably would have taken the point beforehand. It was hot and difficult and they are a very good team.

"The one thing we showed was a lot of big hearts, courage and commitment.

"Whether that wins you tournaments, I don't know. But it is a base for us to build on and hopefully we can do that.

"The manager was very positive afterwards. That's the way it has to be. The only way you get going in life is by being positive and looking for the ups rather than the downs."

Parker knows there is room for improvement with England only posing a spasmodic threat in attack.

He said: "I'm sure we will do a bit more work leading into the Sweden game on things we could do a little better.

"Hopefully we can get a little bit more going forward and go from there.

"On paper France were the favourites in the group and now we will go into the other two games and try and get a result there.

"But Sweden will be difficult. We've not got the best of records in competition against Sweden so it will be tough."

Parker, who was troubled by an Achilles injury ahead of the tournament, was substituted during the second half.

But he insisted: "I'm fine really. I had a bit of fatigue and cramp and I just didn't want to put the team or myself in a vulnerable position."

Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the surprise inclusion by head coach Roy Hodgson but the 18-year-old knows he has to be ready for such opportunities.

He said: "To be selected for this squad was a massive step for me and to be called into the team for the first game was a massive honour for me.

"I approached the game in the best way I could and worked hard for the team.

"Everything has come as a bit of a surprise to me at the moment. It has been a mad year and everything has been going quickly.

"But you've got to remind yourself I was was one of the initial people selected for the squad so that means I've got to be ready to do the job when called upon.

"You quickly get your mind around that and just focus on the job."

Oxlade-Chamberlain admits to being frustrated at not making more of an impact against the French.

He said: "I think it went okay. I showed what I can do in bits. It was quite frustrating for myself to try and get into the positions I like to get into and get at defenders.

"But it's not about me. It's about me and the country. I tried to do a good defensive job for the team and make sure we got the right result."

PA

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