Nothing less than winning the World Cup in Russia next month will be satisfactory despite England’s failure to even progress to the later stages in recent tournaments, insist Three Lions’ stars Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli.
Gareth Southgate’s men travel to their base in Repino, north-west of Saint Petersburg, next week looking to end 52 years without winning a major tournament since the 1966 World Cup.
Sterling was part of the England sides that crashed out at the group stages four years ago and exited in humiliating fashion to Iceland in the last 16 of Euro 2016.
But the Manchester City winger rejected suggestions England should be happy with progress to the quarter-finals this time round.
“No, it won’t be good enough at all, because you want to win it,” Sterling said at England’s pre-tournament media day.
“I’m not coming here to spend four, five, six weeks of my life to say ‘let’s see what happens and hopefully last 16’.”
Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli believes “the sky is the limit” for a talented young squad.
“We have a young, hungry team that wants to achieve greatness, we want to bring the country together and achieve something great,” said Alli.
“I don’t think we can put limits on it, the sky is the limit.”
Alli also played in the defeat to Iceland two years ago and believes that those still in the squad will have learned from that harrowing experience.
“I think we learned a lot as players, it was one of the best moments of my career and one of the worst as well with the way it ended,” added Alli.
“We have to prove to ourselves — we are excited, we have a strong team and there is a lot of belief we can achieve something great within the squad.”