England player Leighton Baines speaks to the media during a news conference at the Grove Hotel, in Chandler’s Cross, southern England, yesterday. England are due to play Poland in a World Cup Qualifier at Wembley Stadium in London, tomorrow.
WATFORD, United Kingdom: Leighton Baines has urged caution ahead of England’s final World Cup qualifier against Poland -- despite tomorrow’s opponents at Wembley being unable to qualify for Brazil 2014.
The Everton left-back is set to win his 21st cap against Poland, with Chelsea’s Ashley Cole again ruled out with a rib injury.
Baines played in England’s thumping 4-1 win over Montenegro at Wembley on Friday, a result that left them needing to defeat Poland to be certain of a place at next year’s finals. But although that victory was a huge confidence booster for Roy Hodgson’s side, Baines insisted England would take nothing for granted against the Poles.
“We’re not sure how Poland will approach the game now they are out of the equation,” Baines told reporters at England’s hotel in Watford, north of London, yesterday.
“They have some big players, but we’re just thinking about ourselves and know if we are at our best we can get the result we need.
“We’re looking forward to the game. We have to just concentrate on what we have to do. Poland are a good side and we are aware of the rewards at the end and it is a massive incentive for us,” he added.
If Hodgson’s side were to slip up, then they would most likely enter the play-offs given Ukraine, currently second in European qualifying zone Group H, are widely expected to defeat minnows San Marino on Tuesday.
With just one point separating England and Ukraine, a draw against Poland is unlikely to see the group leaders qualify automatically.
“It’s always nice to know that is there (the play-offs),” the 28-year-old Baines said. “It’s not lose and bust, but it is not something we are thinking about. We are at home and we know we are capable of going out there and beating top sides.
“The magnitude of the game is something we are all aware of. On Friday we had to make sure it was in our own hands and we have to go and finish the job now.”
Hodgson was boosted by the performance of Tottenham’s Andros Townsend as they breezed past Montenegro. AFP