Tomkins has Germany hope

James Tomkins is tipped to make his first competitive start for England Under-21s on Monday night with the small matter of a match against old rivals Germany.

Although the Young Lions are already through to Friday's semi-finals of the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, the Group B contest in Halmstad will determine whether they top the group or finish second. As things stand, topping the section would mean avoiding Italy and instead facing host nation Sweden.

Tomkins was an unused substitute in Thursday's impressive 2-0 win against Spain but did figure a week ago in the tournament opener, a 2-1 defeat of Finland. The West Ham United defender said the mood in the camp was understandably high because of the 100 per cent record.

"Everyone's buzzing at the moment. It has been brilliant to win the first two games," he said. "It has given us great confidence going into the Germany game. It will be tough as they're still trying to qualify."

Tomkins may have had a watching brief against the Spanish but said he took much from seeing the pre-tournament favourites at close hand. "We were expecting Spain to come out of the blocks quite quickly which they did. It was a tough game. They're obviously technically very good but we matched them all over the park and thoroughly deserved the win.

"At half-time, the manager got all the lads pumping and ready to go, telling them that we could go out and win the game second half," he added.

With England through it remains to be seen whether Stuart Pearce will shuffle his pack to give the likes of Tomkins a start - especially with recent injury concerns over Micah Richards and Nedum Onouha. Regardless, the 20-year-old homegrown Hammer is just relishing the part of being away with the national team again - having played at the U19 finals last summer.

"It is a good experience for me to be honest. I came on last five minutes against Finland and I have to keep impressing in training and take it if I get my chance."