Delight for Sunderland’s Mignolet at England start

Simon Mignolet
Simon Mignolet
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SIMON Mignolet is pleased he will be handed the chance to scupper England’s Euro 2012 preparations at Wembley this weekend.

The Sunderland goalkeeper has been confirmed in the Belgian starting line-up to face the Three Lions tomorrow, in England’s final warm-up game before the European Championships.

Mignolet wasn’t even on the bench for Belgium’s 2-2 draw with Montenegro last weekend, with Chelsea stopper Thibaut Courtois starting the friendly before being replaced by Bologna’s Jean-Francois Gillet during the second half.

But the Black Cats man will be restored to the side tomorrow and realises the attention that will accompany the game, as new England boss Roy Hodgson takes charge on home soil for the first time.

Mignolet said: “I had no problem with Courtois playing against Montenegro, but I am especially glad that I can play the game tomorrow.

“It should be a great match in front of 90,000 people in such a historic stadium.

“It’s logical that I should play this one because I play in England and have never disappointed when I’ve been in the national team.

“England will be eager to make a real impression. We know the whole country will be looking at England and it’s a huge stage to play on.

“It’s the last game before England go to the Euros so all the players will want to show themselves to get in the team. But we need not fear them. We’ve also got great quality.”

Belgium missed out on a place at Euro 2012 after finishing third in their qualifying group behind Germany and Turkey.

But with the likes of Everton’s Marouane Fellaini, Fulham’s Moussa Dembele and Chelsea-bound Eden Hazard at the disposal of new manager Marc Wilmots, the Belgians are confident of reaching a major tournament when the World Cup qualifying campaign gets underway in September.

All of that trio are expected to feature tomorrow, as are Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen, who missed the Montenegro game through injury.

Mignolet added: “These games are important and they’re good preparation for the World Cup qualifiers in September.

“We want to qualify for the next World Cup so we need to be ready. We’ve got a very good team.

“You saw at Fulham (in Sunderland’s penultimate game of the season) when Moussa Dembele scored that he’s a very good player and we’ve got quite a few like that.

“We should have qualified for the Euro’s and now it’s up to us to get ready for the World Cup.

“We’re in a tough group, but hopefully we manage to get through.”