England manager Steve McClaren took encourgement from the friendly 1-1 draw against Holland, despite seeing his side concede a late equaliser in Amsterdam.
“We’re so disappointed not to have won the game. We had enough chances and should have,” he said.
“But it was a performance of character. We looked like a team, were comfortable defensively and created chances.
“It’s probably our best performance over 90 minutes and it should restore some confidence.”
McClaren singled out Manchester City’s Micah Richards, who made his England debut at right-back.
“I had no qualms about putting Micah in because he’s a very good one-on-one defender and when you’re up against players like Arjen Robben and Rafael Van der Vaart you have to be,” said McClaren.
“Micah had an excellent debut and gave a mature performance and has great potential for the future.”
“Holland are very good attacking side with great movement and we coped with that well.
“We looked fluid in midfield, we had penetration up front and I’m very pleased with the performance, although we conceded from a set-play which is disappointing.
“That is the one disappointment from the night.
“Obviously, we don’t like conceding goals and we have to find reasons for that.”
And McClaren remains confident about England’s chances of reaching Euro 2008 even though victories for Croatia and Russia earlier in the evening edged his side out of the two qualifying berths.
“We had one bad result (in Croatia), but you saw that when everybody’s fit and available we’ve got a strong team and we’ll go forward from this,” he said.
“We are three points behind Croatia but we still have to play them at home, while Russia are one point ahead and we have to play them twice,” observed McClaren, whose side’s next qualifier is in Israel on 24 March.
“I don’t think this group will start until there are three or four games to go and I believe it will go down to the wire.
“I never thought it would be a breeze for anyone. Whoever thought that was silly. But it is up to us and I still say we are in a very good position.”