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Milner: England´s confidence on the up

England midfielder James Milner says the team will improve and go into their opening game of Euro 2012 full of confidence.

Roy Hodgson’s England recorded another narrow win on Saturday, this time a 1-0 triumph over Belgium. They will now travel East on the back of two victories and two clean sheets.

Milner started and finished both warm-up games as he looked to prove to Hodgson that he deserves a starting position against France in just over a week’s time.

The Manchester City midfielder is hoping he has done enough to impress Hodgson, telling reporters: “That’s the manager’s decision and hopefully I’m in the team.”

The 26-year-old knows the side have not hit scintillating form as yet, but believes as the tournament progresses they will improve.

“We haven’t been together for too long with the new manager, so we’re still working on things in training,” Milner said.

“We’re all learning the way that the manager wants us to play, and the more we play together and train together over these next days before that first game, the better we’ll get and the more compact we’ll be, and we’ll put the ideas of the manager into practice.

“We can improve with the ball but I think that’ll come with time together.

“So, I think it’s a positive start to get two wins from two tough games going into the tournament and we’ll go into the first game against a strong team in confident mood.”

England’s optimism could be deflated if the injury news regarding John Terry and Gary Cahill is not good. With Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard and John Ruddy all having already dropped out through injury, they would not want to add the Chelsea pair to that list.

“We’ve had a few niggles and it just seems to be that bad luck that we’re having at the moment,” Milner said.

At first glance it appeared Cahill might have suffered a fractured jaw, but Milner stopped short of blaming Belgium’s Dries Mertens, who pushed the defender into the onrushing Joe Hart.

“The disappointing one was Gaz Cahill. The lad pushed him, didn’t really need to do it. I don’t think he meant to injure him,” he said.

“I think he was going for the ball and just tried to maybe get away with one and nick a goal and gave him a little shove.”

Sun 3 June, 2012
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