England U21s ready for set-piece test against Czechs, says Lee Carsley

England U21s ready for set-piece test against Czechs, says Lee Carsley as boss praises their ‘change in tempo and mentality’ in training ahead of crunch Euros qualifier

  • England U21s face Czech Republic U21s on Thursday night at Turf Moor
  • A victory will put European Championship qualifier back in England U21s’ hands
  • England were held drew in Slovenia last month after conceding two set-pieces 

England’s Under 21s have been peppered with set pieces in training to correct deficiencies from last month ahead of Thursday night’s crunch European Championship qualifier.

Lee Carsley’s side were cruising in Slovenia only to leave with a draw after conceding from two corners, which makes the Czech Republic’s visit to Turf Moor on Thursday evening a huge clash.

Five points behind the Czechs with a game in hand, England can take charge of Group G with victory.

Lee Carsley has his England U21 side prepared for set-pieces ahead of facing Czech Republic

‘We’ve been defending a lot of corners, a lot of free-kicks over the last two days,’ Carsley said.

‘There has been a change in tempo and mentality doing that practice because they know they’ve been punched on the nose from it in the last camp.

‘We’ve seen good things in patches. This is our third camp and I’m demanding I want to see more.

‘It’s a brilliant test for us. We have to be at our best. I want us to be able to play and compete under pressure because ultimately the end goal is to get them to the seniors and that is what you need.

‘We’ve got a lot of younger high-achieving players who’ve done so well in the younger age groups. For some of them it’s potentially the first time they’ve been up against it.’ 

Carsley saw his England U21s (right) drop points vs Slovenia due to poor set-piece defending

Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun is set to lead the line in the absence of suspended Rhian Brewster as England hunt for more goals.

‘Flo’s probably missed out on that little bit of senior football,’ Carsley added. ‘You need testing. Watching him in the Under 23s for Arsenal, it’s probably a little bit too easy for him.

‘I think it would be fair to say that a lot of the clubs in Europe would be aware of Flo’s qualities and if anything he has just got to keep proving it to himself. He is the only person he’s got to impress and look himself in the mirror. He’s got outstanding ability.’

Folarin Balogun (centre) is set to lead the line for England U21s vs the Czechs on Thursday

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