England Euro 2016 qualifiers – San Marino & Switzerland
When: v San Marino (Serravalle, 17:00 BST, Sat, 5 Sep); v Switzerland (19:45 BST, Tue, 8 Sep)
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live and live text commentaries on this website
Roy Hodgson has challenged his England players to go through their Euro 2016 qualification campaign with a 100% record, says Swansea’s Jonjo Shelvey.
Victory over San Marino on Saturday could see England secure their spot in France with three games to spare.
But Hodgson told his players in a meeting on Tuesday that he wanted them to win every game of their campaign.
“Hopefully we can go out and do that,” said Shelvey. “There’s no reason why we can’t. I think we’ve got the ability.”
With four games left to play, England currently have 18 points – giving them a six-point gap over Switzerland and a nine-point advantage over Slovenia, who are currently in third.
If England win in San Marino and Slovenia fail to defeat Switzerland on the same day, Hodgson’s team will be assured of qualification for Euro 2016.
England then face the Swiss on Tuesday before ending their campaign in October with fixtures against Estonia and Lithuania.
“Beating San Marino and Switzerland would take the pressure off the team and get us ready for the European Championship, but I don’t think Roy wants us to take that pressure off,” added Shelvey.
“He’s always pushing for the next step so hopefully we can go out and win that first game and then that gives us a great stepping stone for Switzerland.”
Shelvey keen to grasp second chance
Shelvey’s one and only England cap came as a substitute against San Marino in 2012.
The Londoner was a Liverpool player at the time but was sold to Swansea in 2013. Last season Swans boss Garry Monk told Shelvey to “wise-up” and improve his disciplinary record.
Shelvey signed a new deal in the summer and Hodgson said when naming his squad that he had been impressed’s with the player’s form this season.
“I don’t want to just go there with England and not play,” added Shelvey. “I want to get the chance to play a game.
“If I get the chance I know I can show everyone what I am capable of because I’ve started this season well.
“But there’s still a lot more to come and I will keep working hard and try to kick on.”
Shelvey clarifies Under-21 reports
The Swansea midfielder has denied that he was unwilling to play for the England Under-21 team after making his senior debut.
Hodgson, who gave Shelvey his debut in 2012, said last year that he believed Shelvey had been “reticent” about returning to Gareth Southgate’s squad.
“A lot of it’s been rumours and been misread,” added Shelvey.
“I spoke to Gareth, who said that when the Euro Under-21 [Championship] came round [in 2013], he didn’t expect me still to be with them.
“I’ve always made myself available for my country. If I didn’t my dad would have killed me.”
Butland keen to take Hart’s place
Meanwhile, Stoke keeper Jack Butland says he is looking to put England’s number one goalkeeper Joe Hart under pressure, adding that he is not in the squad to “make up the numbers”.
The 22-year-old made his debut against Italy in August 2012 and makes his return to the senior set-up for the forthcoming double-header.
“Joe’s an incredible keeper who’s established himself for a long time now,~” said Butland.
“He’s reached his 50 caps, which is brilliant, but for me I want to put pressure on him and hopefully get some game time.”
England squad to face San Marino and Switzerland:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Jack Butland (Stoke City), Tom Heaton (Burnley).
Defenders: Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones, Phil Jagielka (Both Everton).
Midfielders: Michael Carrick (Manchester United), James Milner (Liverpool), Ross Barkley (Everton), Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph (Both Manchester City), Ryan Mason (Tottenham).
Forwards: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Theo Walcott (Arsenal).
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