Ashley Young insists England’s World Cup history is not a burden, saying the squad is “looking forward to the future” ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final against Croatia.
England have only twice previously reached the World Cup semi-finals – in 1966 when they won the tournament and in 1990 when they lost on penalties to West Germany.
Young is expected to start against Croatia and believes the squad’s mentality has left them in a strong position to recreate the heroics of 1966 in Russia this summer.
“We are concentrating on what’s going on now. Not what’s happened in the past. We’re looking forward to the future,” said Young.
“We haven’t won anything yet so there’s no point in celebrating, obviously it was nice to get the victory but I think those celebrations against Sweden were muted because we know there are still big games to come.
“There’s a lot to play for and I’ve said all along the team spirit we’ve got here has been fantastic and I think you see the way we celebrated after the game – we get ourselves back to the hotel, recover, prepare in the right way and go for the next game.”
When asked if England will win the World Cup, Young responded: “I think we’ve got a great chance. We’ve put ourselves in a great position to go on and win it. I said before the tournament that we aren’t coming out here to not win the World Cup.”
Young anticipates a tough task against Croatia on Wednesday, but says England must focus on their own qualities rather than becoming distracted by their opponents.
“They aren’t in the semi-final for no reason, we’ve got to be prepared for them with the likes of Luka Modric in the team, who’s a fantastic player,” he added.
“They’ve got players all around the squad that are going to be difficult opponents, we can’t concentrate too much on them, we have to concentrate on ourselves and that’s exactly what we will be doing going into the game.”
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