England Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd believes his squad is more than good enough to make an impression at this summer’s Euro Finals.
The Young Lions head to Poland next week bidding to improve on their performances at the same competition in recent years, with England knocked out at the group stages in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
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But Boothroyd says there’s an air of confidence around all of England’s development teams at the moment and the squad will travel to their base in Kielce in good spirits.
“There’s never been a better time to be an England player, particularly at this level,” said Boothroyd.
“We’ve got a young, fresh outlook and some terrific talent in this country at senior and junior level.
“I do think this squad is good enough, as long as we can keep everybody fit and we don’t lose anyone through daft yellow cards and we stay focused on what the job is.
“If we get a bit of luck, I think we are good enough.”
The Young Lions squad was named at the start of the week, with midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek ruled out through injury and Marcus Rashford with the senior squad for their games with Scotland and France.
In addition, the other Three Lions stars who are young enough for this competition but haven’t figured in the current campaign such as John Stones, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling were never likely to feature in Poland.
“Of course I want all the best players, but also my job is a development role so it was about me talking to Gareth and what he had to say,” revealed Boothroyd.
“We’ve lost Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marcus, who are key players who helped put us in a good position against Norway to help us qualify.
“But I’d much prefer to lose them now, rather than lose two players last time like Gareth did with his best defender and best striker [Stones and Saido Berahino who were injured] in the space of 48 hours before the first game.
“It’s my job and the staff’s job and the players to make sure we become a better team and we’re not a group of individuals.
“We want to get the best out of every single individual so that we synergise and perform as a team.”
With 15 players in the squad being part of the group which won the Toulon Tournament last summer, there is a hunger within the squad to build on that.
And Boothroyd hopes that success will help his charges when they face up to Sweden in their opening game on Friday 16 June.
“Winning that first trophy and getting over that hurdle is something that can propel you into winning,” he said.
“There’s a real focus from them and a willingness to go there and win something.”