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Noble on Championship hopes

Filed: Monday, 15th June 2009
By: Staff Writer

James Tomkins and Mark Noble kick off their European Championship campaign later today as England take on Finland in Halmstad.

Stuart Pearce's under 21s, for whom both Hammers are expected to start face a tough challenge in Group B with Spain and Germany to follow tonight's game.against the Fins - but Noble remains upbeat as the big kick off looms. The United midfielder, who is keeping a blog throughout the tournament told thefa.com:

"After the best part of two weeks together as a squad, we are all ready and canít wait for the game to kick off. We are really excited about this tournament, everyone is really up for it and the spirit around the hotel is awesome.

"Weíve been training very well and the boys look sharp. Now with the first game tonight I just canít wait for things to get started."

"Itís also great having James in the squad as heís a good mate and we get on really well. Itís nice having him about as I canít remember the last time I had a team mate in the England squad with me.

"Tonka has been through exactly the same as me two years ago; getting into the West Ham first team, booking a holiday at the end of the season and then having to cancel it after being called up for England and getting into the final 23 for the tournament. He made his debut for the Under-21s last Monday and looked very good. I also made my debut in the friendly before we headed out to Holland.

"He played so well at the end of the season for us, he really deserved his call up and I hope he gets a chance out here to play in the finals. When he was picked we spoke about two years ago and the type of things that you can expect and that, as a player, you have to deal with."

Noble, Tomkins and England go in to tonight's game with England having not lost to Finland at under 21 level since 1985. The six meetings between the two sides have resulted in four wins for England, one draw and a sole win for the Fins.

All of England's games are being broadcast live by Sky.

Group B Fixtures

England v Finland (Halmstad): Monday 15th June - 5:15pm k/o (BST)
England v Spain (Gothenburg): Thursday 18th June - 7:45pm k/o (BST)
England v Germany (Halmstad): Monday 22nd June - 7:45pm k/o (BST)

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