Defender Ben Gibson is hoping England Under-21s’ 3-2 friendly victory over Germany was a dress rehearsal for a European Championship finals showdown.
Both sides head for the Czech Republic during the summer as manager Gareth Southgate attempts to guide the Young Lions to glory, and England will do so having got the better of their German counterparts with a 3-2 win at the Riverside Stadium on Monday evening.
England had to come from behind twice to set the stage for a late decisive push, and Middlesbrough’s Gibson is hoping that will stand them in good stead. He said: “Germany were always going to be a good side. You know they are going to be technical and strong, and that’s what they were. But we thought we could match them – we did that and ended up getting the result.
“We are hoping we will play against them at some point either in the semi-final or final in the Euros – that would be nice. It would be another tough game. They are a good side, so to get the win was the important thing.”
The win against Germany was England’s third against fellow finalists with Portugal and the hosts having already succumbed at their hands.
Southgate said: “We have got depth, which really excites me because I don’t think you can go to a tournament relying on a couple of players.
“We have shown across the campaign – we started with the likes of Raheem (Sterling) in, we have had Luke Shaw in, we have had to win matches without all of these players at different times, without Harry (Kane), without Saido (Berahino), and they have kept doing it.
“New players have emerged, like Jesse (Lingard), who is back from injury and who has got great potential, and Alex Pritchard, who has just come into the squad. Of the 23 (for the finals), I am probably reasonably clear on 21.”