Tomkins targets semi start

England Under-21 defender James Tomkins has stated his intention to hold on to his starting place after making his full competitive debut for Stuart Pearce's side.

Tomkins, who made his U21 debut in the 7-0 friendly win over Azerbaijan in Milton Keynes earlier this month, started England's 1-1 UEFA European U21 Championship Group B draw with Germany in Halmstad on Monday.

Having already secured their semi-final place, former Hammers favourite Pearce made ten changes to the team that beat Spain 2-0 in their second fixture, with captain Mark Noble among those given a rest.

Tomkins and Chelsea's Michael Mancienne were drafted in to replace Manchester City duo Nedum Onuoha and Micah Richards, and the 20-year-old is now aiming to keep his place when England take on host nation Sweden on Friday.

"There are a lot of youngsters here and they're doing really well for themselves and I think everyone is pushing for their place at the moment because the whole team is performing well," Tomkins told "We're just looking forward to the next game, the semi-final. It's a massive game and it's going to be a great experience."

Looking back on the Germany match, the result of which saw England top their group, Tomkins was happy with his own performance. However, he knows he must maintain a high level if he is to keep the likes of Richards, Onuoha and Mancienne out of Pearce's starting eleven.

"I think it was a good experience for myself and the other lads who hadn't started [the previous games]. So it was good to get the game under our belts and now look forward to the next game," said Tomkins. "I think I got better as the game went on. It was my first competitive start so it was a good experience. It was brilliant to come out and sing the national anthem and hopefully [the experience] will stand me in good stead for years to come."

Whether he is picked for the semi-final or not, Tomkins believes England have all the tools needed to win the European Championship for the third time in the nation's history. Noble is expected to return to the side on Friday as England seek their first U21 crown since 1984.

"The 23-man squad we've got here has a lot of quality in it," Tomkins added. "The lads who started [the first two games] have had a little rest and given the other lads the chance to show what they can do.

"I think it was a good tester for us because you don't get much bigger than Germany. I think all the lads did themselves justice. The way we're playing at the moment we're full of confidence and obviously having not lost a game yet we're not fearing anyone. Whoever we get next, we're all looking forward to it."