Scottish Premier League

Killie winger tipped for England

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Tue, 02 Apr 2013 16:46:00

Inter Milan boss Andrea Stramaccioni has declared his side must win at Sampdoria on Wednesday night if they are to maintain hope of qualifying for the Champions League.

The Nerazzurri sit 10 points behind city neighbours AC Milan, who currently hold third spot, having lost their two Serie A matches either side of the international break.

Losses to Bologna and Juventus sandwiched a 4-1 victory over Tottenham in the Europa League but Inter still exited the tournament on away goals.

A win on Wednesday night would see them leapfrog Lazio into a qualification spot for that competition again but Stramaccioni is still aiming for a place in Europe's elite club contest.

He told following Saturday's 2-1 loss to Juventus: "Is it beyond us now? Of course it's not.

"We played an open game today. We're playing better, we have a match in Genoa now and we have to win it."

That sentiment was echoed by veteran midfielder Javier Zanetti, who added: "We need to find the strength to do as best as possible in the remaining games, find the strength to put in a good performance in Genoa like we did today against a top team like Juventus.

"Third place? We still have a few six-pointers to play and a game in hand.

"Let's see what happens between now and the end of the season."

A win for the Genoa outfit would see them jump into the top half of the Serie A table and effectively end any worries of relegation.

The match was due to be played on March 17 but was postponed after heavy snow and rainfall was forecast.

The 24-year-old Londoner will sit out Wednesday night's Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with St Mirren and looks set to miss the rest of the season after suffering a punctured lung and broken ribs in the weekend win over Ross County.

But Shiels claims the former Crystal Palace trainee has done well enough in his 31 outings this season to merit a call-up for Hodgson's squad.

He said: "We have lost Dayton which is a big loss for us. He's a big player and adds a lot in the attacking third. He was on the verge of an England call-up, we were thinking.

"I know you might find that funny but other players who have been recommended for Scotland and England are not in the same league as James.

"I don't see why, just because he is wearing a Kilmarnock shirt, he can't be recognised as an international player and I think he is on the verge of it.

"It's obvious that because he is playing for Kilmarnock, (James) wouldn't get the same recognition but believe me, he is good enough. Technically (he's good enough) and his game understanding has improved considerably since he came up here and over the last four or five months he's been one of the top players."

Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster was rewarded for his fine form for the SPL champions when he was included in the England group for their recent World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

Forster's Parkhead team-mate Gary Hooper only missed out on the chance to make his international bow in a friendly with Sweden last year through injury, while Hoops defender Kelvin Wilson has also been tipped to receive a call-up.

But Shiels rejected the suggestion he was being facetious with his comments on Dayton.

He said: "Do you ask Neil Lennon that? You don't. There have been people recommended for Scotland and England and what's wrong with me recommending a player?

"I'm saying that the media in Scotland, because (James) is only wearing a Kilmarnock shirt and we are a wee country club, it doesn't fit with internationals. If I look at who is playing for England, I don't see why James can't."

St Mirren visit Rugby Park tomorrow fresh from their Scottish Communities League Cup win and their weekend draw with Celtic.

But while Killie need just four points from their last two games before the SPL split to clinch a top-six slot, Saints are in 10th place with no hope of reaching the upper half of the top flight.

Shiels, however, believes the Paisley outfit are a better side than their placing suggests.

He said: "St Mirren are a very good team, they are a top-four squad. There is no doubt about that. They have got quality players - great combination players. It's a tough, tough game for us.

"They are in 10th position but they are not far off fourth and I think Danny knows they are good enough to be up there in the top four. Certainly I do with the players they have. It will be a big ask for us to get something from this game and we are approaching it in that manner.

"But it's a great opportunity for us (to seal a top-six place) and we will do our best, that's all we can do."

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