Eric Dier insists England go into World Cup year optimistic of mixing it with the best following encouraging draws with Germany and Brazil.
England completed the 2017 calendar year by following up last Friday’s goalless result with world champions Germany with another against Brazil on Tuesday night.
That was despite being depleted by injuries to the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli, Dier’s Tottenham team-mates, which saw manager Gareth Southgate calling up players from his time as under-21 boss who have barely featured in the Premier League.
Dier took encouragement from the performances at Wembley.
“As England as a team, we have the individuals now it’s just bringing everything together as a team,” Dier said.
“We’re working on that and we’re definitely going in the right direction.
“The ambition of everyone here is to keep improving and progressing to be on the level with the best teams in the world.”
Dier says England, knocked out of Euro 2016 by Iceland, should not be fazed, no matter who the opposition.
He added: “Our mentality needs to be that no matter who we’re playing against, we want to try to dominate the game, affect the game and win the game.”
Dier thinks the likes of Joe Gomez and Ruben Loftus-Cheek – the players named man of the match against Brazil and Germany, respectively – have shown the depth of talent is present for England.
And he hopes the newly-blooded players will keep improving.
“The squad was very depleted, but the young boys have come in and done so well,” Dier added.
“I thought Joe Gomez was just brilliant (against Brazil), Ruben (Loftus-Cheek) the other day (against Germany).
“What they need to do is keep improving, keep playing at a high level on a consistent basis.”
Defender John Stones wants Southgate to have selection headaches.
The Manchester City defender said: “When you get the chance you’ve got to take it, like the lads did (against Brazil) and against Germany as well.
“The manager wants that problem, to know that everyone’s firing and we want to make it difficult for him to pick a team.
“That healthy competition is what makes us better as players. Fighting for our place. Everyone wants to play for the country and that’s what it’s created.”
Loftus-Cheek, who is on loan at Crystal Palace from Chelsea, went off in the first half with a back complaint.
Chelsea forward Willian has backed the Blues academy graduate to come good.
“He is strong, he has quality. He has a great future,” Willian said.
Of more immediate concern for England’s players is a return to the Premier League, with the next international break not until March. Dier’s focus is now on Saturday’s North London Derby, when Tottenham go to Arsenal.
“The mentality going into it is to win. Simple really,” said Dier, who hopes Christian Eriksen will be on a high following his hat-trick in Denmark’s World Cup play-off win over Ireland.
“It’s great for Tottenham he’s continuing to excel. We’re seeing the best Christian Eriksen we’ve ever seen at the moment. Hopefully he can keep going.”
England Football News
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