Harry Kane insists England are in a better position heading into the European Championships than they were for their run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.
The Three Lions begin their Euro 2020 campaign against Group D rivals Croatia at Wembley on Sunday. The same opponents ended England’s World Cup hopes three years ago but both squads have changed since.
Captain Kane, who won the Golden Boot in Russia, feels England are now better suited for tournament football having gained more experience for club and country since their agonising exit in Moscow.
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“I’d say so,” the Tottenham striker told the Official England Podcast when asked if the squad is stronger than in 2018. “We’re probably in a better place.
“Going into that World Cup, we maybe weren’t sure where we were as a team, but we performed really well and stepped up to the occasion.
“I feel like now we’ve had a bit more experience, players in the biggest games for their club and obviously players who have played in that World Cup have had that experience as well.
“I feel like we are in a good place. We know there is still a lot of hard work that goes into it. We don’t just turn up and win the tournament.
“We haven’t won a tournament as a country for a long, long time, so there needs to be a lot of good mentality along the whole way as it is a long, tough journey to get to the latter stages of a major tournament.
“Obviously there’s a bit more pressure on us this year than there was going into that World Cup, so we just have to take it in our stride and look forward to the challenge.”
Kane is now an elder statesmen of a 26-man squad that has just three players over the age of 30, and he believes the depth of talent and the balance in experience levels gives England a good chance.
“I’m only 27 years old, but I am one of the older ones in the team,” he added. “We have a great balance and we know we have a long way to go with a lot of hard work between now and, hopefully, the end of the tournament, so we’ll do all we can in this preparation stage.
“Everyone gets on really well and the group is great. We’ve got a great balance between young and experienced players. We’ve got players who have been playing in the best games, the biggest games, cup finals and we have a great team.
“To be one of the best teams in the tournament, you have to have great depth in positions and that’s what we have got. We have a lot of competition for places and, as a striker, there are so many creative players who set me up and it’s a joy to play in.”
White replaces Alexander-Arnold in England squad
Ben White has replaced the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold in England’s 26-man squad for Euro 2020.
Beyond proud and honoured! I’ll give it my everything 🦁🦁🦁 @England pic.twitter.com/kjMAAgalqK
Liverpool right-back Alexander-Arnold was ruled out of this summer’s tournament after he was forced off in the closing stages of last week’s 1-0 friendly win over Austria with a thigh injury.
Brighton defender White, who was among those named in the provisional 33-man squad, has now been selected by Gareth Southgate ahead of England’s opener against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday.
The 23-year-old, who can play in defence and midfield, made his England debut against Austria and impressed on his first start in Sunday’s final warm-up game against Romania.
Sky Sports News has learned White was called on his way home to the south coast at around 9.30pm on Sunday night by England boss Southgate, who told him personally he was being promoted.
England’s 26-man squad for Euro 2020
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ben White (Brighton)
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Declan Rice (West Ham)
Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Pick your England XI for opening Euro game
England have played their final warm-up game ahead of Euro 2020 but who makes your starting XI for the opening match against Croatia on Sunday at Wembley?
Gareth Southgate has named a 26-man squad but has plenty of selection headaches in defence, midfield and attack.
Who would you start in England’s opening Euro 2020 game against Croatia?
Make your selections below and let us know who you have chosen in our comments section below, or via social media @SkyFootball.
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