Marcus Rashford and Gareth Southgate confident England can deliver on Euro 2020 promise

Marcus Rashford feels England have the talent, ability and self-belief to succeed at the European Championships.

CONFIDENT: England's Marcus Rashford. Picture: Ian Walton/PA

Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate is finalising his 26-man squad for Euro 2020 and will reveal a provisional list today.

Manchester United striker Rashford has 40 caps and 11 goals for England and was part of the squad which reached the World Cup semi-final three years ago.

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The 23-year-old believes the current crop has learned from that experience and is better equipped to go all the way this time.

England manager Gareth Southgate shakes hands with Mason Mount. Picture: Michael Regan/PA

“We’ve got a good chance. The talent and ability in the team is as high as I have seen it,” said Rashford. “A lot of it is down to self-belief. I was speaking to some of the players and I think the only thing that stopped us last time was entering that element of the unknown.

“We hadn’t been that far as a team before and we didn’t know what to expect. I feel like we’ve learned from those experiences, plus we’ve got a few new talented faces in the squad.

“We’re looking at a really good balance and you need balance to win trophies. We’re definitely more prepared now. If we go into a semi-final again we will control it much better – 100 per cent. We’ll try and play our football.

“Last time it just turned into ‘attack, attack, attack’ and we stopped doing the basics. I feel like we’ve learned from it and we’re a lot more capable of doing greater things now.”

England's Marcus Rashford. Picture: Ian Walton/NMC Pool/PA

The Three Lions will kick-start their tournament preparations by hosting Austria in Middlesbrough on Wednesday, June 2.

They will then kick off their campaign with a World Cup semi-final rematch against Croatia at Wembley on June 13, and Rashford feels home advantage will be crucial.

“It’s a massive, massive advantage,” he added. “To play so many games at our home stadium and hopefully in front of our home fans – that’s just not going to happen again. So everyone is excited and ready.

“The main thing is to get yourself physically prepared because it’s tough – you play so many games during the season and then the tournament comes straight after. It’s something I’m so excited for and I believe in what the manager, the staff and the players can do.”

Southgate has told England not to fear their ambition of winning the tournament, insisting his players and the public must be allowed to “dream” about claiming a maiden Euros crown.

England will play all three group matches at Wembley, with the tournament spanning the continent, but Southgate has told his players not to take home advantage for granted.

The England chief is acutely aware of how the pressures and expectations will now rapidly ratchet up.

“I said ahead of the World Cup in Russia, we wanted the country to have pride in the team, and I think we achieved that,” said Southgate. “Some of that is about results, and some of that is about the way the team connect with the fans. Now of course if you don’t win the matches then that pride isn’t there, that’s the reality.

“And now we’ve been to two semi-finals and we are as keen as everybody else to go further.

“So we understand expectations change, and we shouldn’t be afraid of saying we want to go and win. We know there’s some improvement for us to do, we’ve started to beat some of the top teams over the last couple of years. We have to do that consistently.

“And if we’re to win this tournament, the way the draw looks, we would have to do that on two or three occasions.

“But as a team we’ve got to take it small steps at a time.

“Qualify from the group, get that nailed from a group with three very tough games and opponents in Croatia and the Czech Republic who have beaten us in recent times. But we’ve also done the same to them.

“And we all know what the game against Scotland means to everybody. So we have to allow everybody to dream, we want to dream ourselves.

“But we’ve got to make sure we won’t just win because we’re at home, we won’t just win because we’re an exciting team. We’ve got to get all the parts right.”

Southgate believes it is up to England as a collective to decide whether to treat public expectation as pressure or an opportunity.

“My one ambition when I was a kid was to play for England,” said Southgate. “I’ve had the privilege to be able to do it once, and we now have a European Championships where some of our matches are at Wembley. So that’s quite a unique opportunity. It is an honour, and it is exciting.

“And of course there’s an expectation, and we can build that into pressure if we choose.

“I’d rather be in a role where you can make a difference, where you can drive people to achieve something we haven’t done before. And we’ve only been to one European semi-final as a country, never mind to a final or winning.

“So we’ve a chance to be the first, and that is a challenge we should embrace.”

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