England Under-21s have already secured qualification to the European Championship play-offs, but Hull City’s Tom Ince does not want any let up in their final group match in Moldova.
It had always looked like the Young Lions’ group would be a cakewalk and so it proved, with Gareth Southgate’s side nine points ahead of tonight’s opponents Moldova in second place.
Tougher tests are to come, though, and Ince wants to be approaching next month’s play-offs buoyed by an eighth successive win.
“We’ve had a great campaign and we want to have a strong finish (today) against Moldova,” said the Hull winger.
“That would be a great run for us.
“But then there are the play-offs in October and we’ll find out who we get next week.
“But we’ve got enough ability in this squad and we’d feel confident going into the Euros, but we’ll take it one step at a time.”
This will be Ince’s second experience of the play-offs. He reached the 2013 finals by overcoming Serbia in a match that will live long in the memory.
The second leg was scarred by alleged racism and ended in a brawl, which saw the winger receive a one-match ban.
“It’s an experience that will never leave me,” Ince said. “But we got through to the Euros, and that was the biggest thing.”
Ince insists there would be no boycott if England are drawn to face Serbia again in these play-offs, which he says are unlike most things his team-mates will have experienced.
“It’s difficult and you have to make sure you treat it like a cup final,” added Ince.
“It’s only two games and it’s not one of those where you can afford to not turn up for one and then go to the second leg. You’ve got to be on the ball in both games and whoever we play, it will be tough.
“When you normally finish top of your group, you think you could relax until next summer.
“But it comes around very quickly and whoever we get, we have to be prepared and make sure everyone stays fit in between.
“We’ll come back together in October and I’m sure the gaffer will have a game plan for whoever we play.
“If we can get the ball down, attack and create chances, then we have nothing to fear.”