European U21 Championship

Cranie calls for improvement

Young Lions must raise their game to take anything from Spain

Cranie: No room for error

Cranie: No room for error

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England U21 defender Martin Cranie feels the Young Lions must raise their game against Spain on Thursday.

Spain U21 v England U21
7.30pm, Thur, Sky Sports 3 & HD3

Stuart Pearce's side made a winning start to their European U21 Championship campaign on Monday with a 2-1 success against Finland, but were a long way short of their best in that fixture.

A first half dismissal of Michael Mancienne did little to help their cause, but the squad have been made well aware that performances must improve if they are to mount a serious challenge for the title.

The next opportunity for them to make amends for the failings in their opening fixture comes against much-fancied Spain, who were held to a goalless draw in their first game by Germany.

Portsmouth starlet Cranie expects England to be given a tough time by Juan Ramon Lopez Caro's side and admits the mistakes which blighted their contest with Finland must be eradicated if they are to claim a positive result.

"I think we are well aware that we weren't at out best the other night, the gaffer has made us aware of that," he told Sky Sports News.

"But I think we showed a lot of commitment and character to come back, especially with 10 men on the pitch.


"To come back from 1-1 with 10 men for an hour and to go on and win the game showed how together we are as a squad.

"Obviously they're (Spain) a good team and they have a few well-known players playing for them, so we will have to be at our best if we are going to beat them."

One of the high-profile faces England will come across in Gothenburg is that of Barcelona striker Bojan Krkic.

Cranie admits the Young Lions will need to be wary of the diminutive frontman, but believes the Spaniards will be equally concerned by the talent within Pearce's squad.

"Bojan is a young lad who is playing for Barcelona and is a very good player, but they could be sitting in their camp saying the same thing about the Theos (Walcott) that we have got in our squad," he added.

"I think it works both ways. We know that we have to be at the top of our game to beat them though."