Belief in the England team is currently higher than it’s been for years thanks to the remarkable job that Gareth Southgate has done.
Reaching the 2018 World Cup semi-finals was a stunning achievement by Southgate and his players - and fans now see both the 2020 European Championships and 2022 World Cup as realistic opportunities to win a major trophy.
This optimistic belief was reinforced on Friday night when England thrashed the Czech Republic 5-0 in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier.
Raheem Sterling netted a hat-trick, while Harry Kane’s penalty and Tomas Kalas’s own goal capped off another fine night for the hosts at Wembley.
England suddenly find themselves blessed with a number of talented attack-minded youngsters, including 18-year-old Jadon Sancho, who made his first international start on Friday night.
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The Borussia Dortmund winger, who has consistently impressed in the Bundesliga after leaving Manchester City in search of first-team opportunities two years ago, played the full 90 minutes in the 5-0 win over the Czech Republic.
And the teenager showed that he’s a baller in every sense of the word with a brilliant double nutmeg.
Watch it here…
It’s great to see a young Englishman executing skills on his first international start.
Southgate’s management means Sancho and other youngsters like him aren’t afraid to express themselves because they know they have license to.
"I think the rest of the players make it an environment where they can come in and be themselves," Southgate explained in his post-match press conference, per Sky Sports. "They don't feel inhibited around the camp and so they don't feel inhibited on the pitch. You can see that by the way they played.
"Jadon made a really good contribution to the first goal. A bit of a mixture outside of that, but that's wing players. We're asking them to try things. We're asking our attacking players to take things on. As a coach you have to accept that they will fail a number of times, but then the times that they succeed will create chances and will create goals."
Sancho, who has scored 10 goals in 47 games for Dortmund, potentially faces a big decision over his future this summer.
Reports suggest the Camberwell-born winger is Manchester United’s number one transfer target, with the Red Devils prepared to pay as much as £100 million for his signature.
But this is a kid who knows the importance of first-team football and will not be moving to Old Trafford unless he’s guaranteed a spot in United’s starting line-up.