Tom’s play-off confidence

Tom Carroll believes England Under-21s can go into next month’s Euro play-offs with plenty of confidence and belief.

Gareth Southgate’s side finished their group qualifiers with victories in Lithuania and Moldova earlier this month, to top their group with nine wins from ten games.

They will now take on Croatia over two legs in the play-offs, with the winner progressing to next summer’s Euro Finals in Czech Republic.

England v Croatia

2015 UEFA U21s Championship
Qualifying play-off first leg

5.45pm, Friday 10 October 2014
Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton

Call 0871 222 1877 for tickets

And the Spurs midfielder, currently on loan at Swansea City, thinks Croatia or any of the other nations in the draw would not have been happy to be paired with England following their qualifying record this term.

“I think people will be almost a little bit scared at playing us, after nine wins and a draw,” claimed Carroll. 

“We’re a team in form and we’re improving with every game, so we’re going into the games with full confidence.

“As soon as we got out there to Lithuania and Moldova, we knew what we had to do and we played some good stuff at times.

“It’s important for us to keep the momentum going into the play-offs.”

It is not unusual to see a beaming smile on the face of Carroll around the Under-21s camp, but that was exemplified even more ahead of England’s game in Moldova.

Tom Carroll finds time for a laugh during his England photo-shoot.

Carroll is a popular figure within the Under-21s squad

The 22-year-old, one of the most popular members of the Three Lions squad, was told by boss Southgate that he would be leading out his country for the final group qualifier.

And after missing the majority of last season’s games through an unfortunate injury picked up in the win over Lithuania last October, Carroll admits it came as something of a surprise. 

“The gaffer called me in that morning and asked me if I’d like to be the captain,” explained Carroll, who joined the Swans from Tottenham Hotspur just a week before linking up with England last month. 

“It’s hard to sum up the feeling really but I was delighted.

“As soon as he [Southgate] told me, I had the biggest grin on my face and when he was telling me, I just couldn’t stop smiling.

“Then I got back to the real world and I let my mum know. It’s just a big honour.

“I couldn’t get hold of my dad as he was in Devon playing golf, but my mum would have let him know.

“But I love coming away with England, it’s a great bunch of lads and when we come away we bond really well.”

Video highlights of England’s qualifying victory over Moldova in Tiraspol.

Carroll responded to the honour in style too, by putting in an accomplished display throughout the 3-0 win in Tiraspol with his passing range and intelligence off the ball catching the eye.

And with the chance of more games in the Premier League now coming his way at the Liberty Stadium, Watford-born Carroll admits he is appreciating his time in South Wales. 

“I’m really enjoying it, training is sharp and we’ve only played a couple of games,” he added.

“The style of play will hopefully suit me down to the ground, that’s why I wanted to go there and hopefully I’ll get some games under my belt.”

Tickets for England’s play-off first leg against Croatia at Wolves’ Molineux are on sale now, priced at just £10 and £5 via the Wolves Ticketline on 0871 222 1877 or online here.

There are also ticket deals for groups as FA Charter Standard clubs can book up to 25 tickets here, while other groups can buy up to 15 tickets for a reduced cost here

Wolves season ticket holders can pick them up for half price.