England confident of progress says Phil Jones

England left themselves needing to win their final Group B game to avoid crashing out of the European Under-21 Championship but defender Phil Jones said: "We would have taken that before the tournament."

Stuart Pearce's Young Lions stumbled to a second successive disappointing draw last night against Ukraine, meaning they must beat the Czech Republic on Sunday to avoid an early exit from the finals in Denmark.

Jones, who once again demonstrated why Manchester United this week paid Blackburn more than £16million for his services, admitted England were poor in the first half yesterday at Herning's MCH Arena.

But the 19-year-old was confident there would not be a repeat performance in England's final group game.

"If you'd said to us at the start of the tournament going into the last game, can it be in our own hands, we'd have taken that," he said.

"Coming into the group, we knew we had three difficult teams to beat and play against.

"We've got another tough game on Sunday but we'll be ready.

"It's exciting.

"We're still confident. We know what's in the changing room.

"We've got bags of ability in there and we'll come back firing on Sunday."

Jones admitted England had been "poor in the first half" yesterday, much as they were in Sunday's opener against Spain.

"We probably didn't move it quick enough, we weren't ourselves, didn't get the ball to the wide people," he added.

"In the end, we caused our own problems in the first half.

"We responded well and we'll take that into the next game."

Although England struggled going forward, they were once again largely untroubled at the back, with new United team-mates Jones and Chris Smalling further enhancing their reputations.

"We know our strengths, we know our weaknesses," added Jones.

Pearce insisted England could handle the pressure of Sunday's must-win clash in Viborg.

They will need to improve dramatically on last night's performance if they are to progress to the semi-finals.

But Pearce was typically bullish, saying: "We go into the game Sunday having to win to go through but our destiny is in our own hands.

"This is why you bring players to tournaments, to perform under pressure.

"We've had two games against two really tough sides, we've come out of that, we've conceded one goal.

"It's all to play for once again. We go into the last game and everyone's in the mix."

That includes within his own squad, with Pearce hinting at changes for Sunday.

"One or two players have given me a great deal to think about," he said.

"The players who have not contributed so far might give us a lift on Sunday."

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star