Raheem Sterling believes England are developing the type of ruthless temperament that can deliver long-awaited international glory at Euro 2020.
Three points against the Czech Republic in Prague on Friday will be enough for Gareth Southgate’s men to book their place at next year’s tournament, the final of which is to be held at Wembley.
England are top of Group A in qualifying and have won eight – excluding a penalty shoot-out triumph over Switzerland – of their 12 matches since finishing fourth at the World Cup in Russia, with one of two defeats coming against Netherlands at the Nations League Finals in June.
Despite that setback, Manchester City star Sterling thinks the Three Lions – now ranked fourth in the world – are building the psychological strength necessary to end a trophy drought dating back to 1966.
“It’s something you think of all the time, especially coming so close in the World Cup and having such a good run as a team,” Sterling said.
“I think we’re developing and we’re kind of getting that winning mentality.
“The Nations League was a bit disappointing, but we’ve got another chance now and I feel that a lot of the players don’t just want to be involved in tournaments and finish in the quarter-finals and say that was a good run, or the semi-finals.
“A lot of the players, I’d say every single player, and the manager, all want to go into tournaments with the thought of winning it.
“It will be a difficult task but it’s definitely something that we all dream of winning.”
5 – England have scored five goals in three different matches in 2019 – the first time they’ve done so that many times in a calendar year since 1960 (also three games). Bonanza. pic.twitter.com/9BGP7tffkV
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 10, 2019
Sterling’s superb form in a three-man attack containing captain Harry Kane has been at the forefront of England’s strong run of results over the past 12 months.
Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho appear to be jostling for one place in the strongest possible starting XI, while Tammy Abraham’s excellent start to the season and Callum Hudson-Odoi’s return to fitness could give Southgate a selection quandary.
England scored nine goals in two games during the previous international break but City forward Sterling insisted the younger attackers in the squad must still prove themselves.
“They are still learning, but at the same time are producing as well, so, yeah, it’s an exciting front three,” he said.
“But, you know, we’ve got to do it in big games, big tournaments. That’s when we’ll be judged if we’re a great front three or not.”
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