Stewart Downing says England can take big step forward

Aston Villa's Stewart Downing says victory for England against Switzerland in Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier will give them a vital advantage.

Downing said: "If we can head into next season top of the group, qualification starts to seem a little closer.

"It breeds confidence in the squad and we'll just want to carry on winning. It will give us a big step forward."

England face their other qualifying group opponents Bulgaria, Wales and Montenegro in September and October.

Downing is confident about England's form and said: "If we repeat our recent performances we will have no problem."

The winger, 26, started for England in the 1-1 draw against Ghana in March and is targeting a regular first-team place. "I've been in and out and you just want a run as a player, to get in the squad or the team," he said.

"Maybe I am rebuilding my international career. I've been in and out of squads since I made my debut.

"But I'm fit and well. With the country, I've been involved in the last two games. I was pleased to get a start so long may that continue.

"There is great competition and great for the manager he has got those options. I've got to catch his eye.

"In club terms, I've come off the back of a good season. It's been a disappointing season as a club but in the end we got the job done."

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