Jones relishing his first taste of Fortress Carrow Road

Blackburn Rovers' highly rated centre-back Phil Jones is loving every minute of his football – something he hopes will continue at Carrow Road this evening for England Under-21s.

The Young Lions take on Romania in the first leg of their European Championship qualification play-off tonight, with Tuesday's return leg deciding who will travel to Denmark for next summer's finals.

Jones, still only 18, has impressed greatly at Ewood Park in recent months and should get his fourth cap as Stuart Pearce's young charges aim to make up for their final defeat to Germany in 2009.

'For me it's an honour to represent your country at any level,'he said. 'I played for the Under-19s last summer and I really enjoyed that, and to get the Under-21 call was a dream come true really. I'm just loving every minute of it at the moment. I'm playing regularly for my club in the Premier League and I can't ask for much more than that.'

The England side that lost 4-0 to Germany in Malmo last year included James Milner, Adam Johnson and Theo Walcott, and Jones is well aware how impressing at Under-21 level can make an impact.

'It's a great incentive for all the lads, just to be a part of the Championships next summer will be a massive thing for us,' said Jones. 'But we need to concentrate on Friday's game first and get the win. I think I've settled in really well.

'They are a great bunch of lads, always welcoming, and there is a lot of talent in this squad. I'm just pleased to be here.

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'We've all gelled over the time we've been together and it's been a short time because some of us are relatively new, like me.

'But we're looking forward to it, and the week together gives you time to bond with your team-mates and train together. It's nice.'

Yesterday's training session at Carrow Road was Jones' first visit to the ground and he cannot wait to take to the field this evening in front of what is set to be a new record all-seater crowd for the stadium following this summer's refurbishment work.

'It's going to be a great atmosphere,' said Jones. 'It's a nice stadium, one we're looking forward to playing in and we hope we can get the win. There's been good games down at Norwich's training ground (with the City youth teams) and they've provided us with facilities to use, and we're grateful for that.

'We're expecting a really tough encounter with Romania. We've studied them and we know they're a good side and we know it's going be tough to win. 'But we're looking good in training, we've got a good bunch of lads ad hopefully we can get a positive result.

'The management and coaches have looked at how they play, their style of football, they transfer it back to us and we go out and do the business hopefully.

'It should be a good game. There's a decent crowd here at Carrow Road, we've got a lot of quality in every position and we're looking forward to the game. We've got to keep it tight, but we've got to look to get a goal here and see where that takes us.'

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