Manchester United's Chris Smalling & Danny Welbeck keen for England Under-21s to build on Spain draw

Welbeck's late equaliser salvaged a point for Stuart Pearce's team after conceding a controversial opener with centre-back Smalling insisting the squad is 'raring to go'
Manchester United players Chris Smalling and Danny Welbeck are hoping to build on England Under-21s' 1-1 draw against Spain after snatching a late equaliser to deny the tournament favourites in their opening fixture.

After conceding to an Ander Herrera goal form an early corner, which replays showed had a hint hand-ball around it, England had to soak up a lot of pressure before Welbeck struck late, despite suspicions of offside.

After watching the Czech Republic triumph earlier in the day, Welbeck's goal made sure the Three Lions were not three points adrift at the bottom of the group, and the player himself stated his hope in building upon the team's second-half performance during the rest of the tournament.

When asked whether the 1-1 draw felt like a win, he told Sky Sports: "Not really. I think in the first-half they took control of the game, we sat back a bit too much. But in the second half, we got more into the game, got a bit more possession and we created quite a few good chances so maybe we could have stuck a couple more away. But in the end we were delighted to get the goal.

"I think every goal counts really, and I think we’ve set a platform now and we’ve just got to build on it."

Welbeck has spent the season on loan at Sunderland, but his team-mate at Manchester United, Smalling, agreed with the striker's point of view, stressing that the result was a fair one and that on another night England could have won.

"First half they had a lot of the ball but in the end the manager emphasised at half-time that we had the better chances," he said.

"Even though they’ve got the ball, they didn’t create too much and we just had to keep up that belief.

"In the second-half we started to assert ourselves and got a bit more belief. In the end I think it was a well-deserved point and we had the better chances.

"We studied a lot of videos in terms of their possession and their keep-ball.

"The manager has just said we need to go after them, put them under pressure, and you can see that they started to give the ball away and we really started to assert ourselves, but in the end it got better as the game went on but unluckily we didn’t start the game like that."

Smalling was paired alongside Phil Jones in central defence, who looks set to join him at Old Trafford next season, and when asked about his partnership with the Blackburn defender, he said: "I think the whole back four’s worked really well, the two midfielders and the whole team.

"It all starts from Danny [Welbeck] and [Daniel] Sturridge up top and when we really started to assert ourselves we really gave ourselves a chance and you can see that we played a lot of the second half in their box.

"We’ve got a great team spirit, we are just going to go back to the hotel, get our rest on, recovery tomorrow then get a training session in before the next game and just be ready to go, raring to go."

Our  provides the best breaking news online and our  football fan community is unmatched worldwide. Never miss a thing again!