Belfast Telegraph

Young fires England to the brink of finals

England 1 Wales 0: Ashley Young backed England to get the required result in Montenegro next month to see them into the Euro 2012 finals after they stumbled to a 1-0 win over Wales at Wembley last night.

Winner: Ashley Young celebrates after scoring last night

Young scored the only goal 10 minutes before the break, set up by Stewart Downing, but England found themselves under real pressure from the visiting Welsh after the break.

Indeed Gary Speed’s side could have left Wembley with a point if Robert Earnshaw had managed to keep his shot down when he missed from just a couple of yards out during the second-half.

Young felt the result, which leaves England needing a point from their final game in Montenegro to be sure of qualifying, was more important than the performance.

Young said: “We wanted to get the three points to boost our chances of getting top of the group and we've done that.

“The performance wasn't great, but you go out to win the game and that's what we've done.

“We knew Wales were going to come out and play with a bit more flair (after the break), which they did and put us under pressure.

“I'm not too sure what it was in the second-half, we just couldn't get going.”

Asked about the game to come in Montenegro, he added: “Everybody's got to keep ourselves fit.

“We've got to prepare well for that and I'm sure we'll go there and get three points if we put in a good performance.”

England boss Fabio Capello concurred that the three points were the main thing.

“Sometimes the result is more important than the other things,” he said.

“The first-half we played well. The second-half for 25 minutes we played well.

“We suffered a lot the last 15 minutes, they got an incredible chance to score a goal. We created some problems on the counter-attack but not so much.”

Asked if England could challenge at Euro 2012 should they qualify, Capello said: “We need to improve. We are playing better away than at Wembley.

“We also need to recover some players who are out.”

Wales were left to rue that terrible miss from Earnshaw who missed the target from just a couple of yards out.

But manager Speed chose not to dwell on that moment, instead taking pleasure in the team performance.

“I'm very, very proud,” he said. “We knew how the game was going to go. We knew England would put us under pressure and we knew we had to hang on in there.

“We knew the last half hour would open up and I thought we controlled the second-half. We were so comfortable on the ball. We took the game to England and I'm really proud of the players.

“We were unfortunate not to get the result, but with the performance and the way the players played, I'm really really proud.”

On Earnshaw's miss he added: “It's one of those things. You can't get a better lad than Robert Earnshaw. He's Wales through and through.

“If we had 25 of him we'd go a long way. If you wanted to put your money on anyone it would be Earnie.

“But the way the guys played second-half far outweighs the disappointment of that miss.”

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