Ross Barkley says England U20s aiming for a World Cup challenge in Turkey
Ross Barkley says England U20s are aiming for the best in Turkey as they prepare for Sunday’s World Cup opener.
The Everton midfielder has plenty of international experience and was a European Champion with England U17s in 2010 along with a number of his squad-mates in Turkey.
And with the preparations for Peter Taylor’s squad now reaching their peak ahead of the first game, Barkley believes England are aiming high.
He said: “We are here to win the tournament. That's the only way we can approach things.
“There are a lot of good teams at the World Cup, but we believe we can go a long way.
“It is a good opportunity for us to show that we have got good players coming up in England.”
The squad held two separate training camps in England before heading to Turkey earlier this month to fine-tune their preparations.
And with stifling heat to contend with in the southern venue of Antalya, Barkley feels it was a wise choice to head out to Turkey early.
He added: “We have been in Antalya for ten days now and the biggest thing we have had to get used to is the heat.
“It was 34 degrees yesterday and though it's cooler when the matches kick-off, it still takes some getting used to.”
England kick-off against Iraq on Sunday evening and the hot conditions will suit the opposition more than the Three Lions.
And with Iraq boasting a number of senior internationals in their squad, Barkley says England will be treating them with respect.
“Iraq have a few players who have already won caps at senior level, so we need to make sure we play as a team,” he explained.
“If we do that, we are confident we can get off to a good start.”
The 20-year-old knows there is likely to be more focus on England’s World Cup campaign following the early exit of the Under-21s in their Euro Championship earlier this summer.
But he says the squad in Turkey see this tournament as a chance to prove themselves on the world stage.
“I don’t think any of us are feeling extra pressure because of any disappointment at how the Under-21s did at the European Championships in Israel,” he explained.
“If the focus is on us more now, and questions are being asked about whether there is the talent in this country, then everyone here has a chance to prove there is.
“The only way we can show that is on the pitch. Playing for England is the pinnacle and the tournament will also give us experience of playing in front of big crowds and different styles of football.”