England may not have seen too much success on the football field since winning the World Cup at home in 1966, but current manager Roy Hodgson is confident that his players will be able to end the drought at the continental championships next year.
Hodgson was speaking at a team meeting ahead of England’s qualifier against minnows San Marino which is scheduled to be played on Saturday.
England has managed a 100 per cent record in the qualification matches so far and a victory on Saturday will guarantee them a spot at Euro 2016.
Hodgson, whose contract with the England team expires after that tournament, spoke to his 22-man squad at St George’s Park and outlined his aspirations for the upcoming season.
The 68-year-old was upbeat after a string of good performances and asserted at the team meeting that his players could stake a claim for the title if they take their run of good form into next year’s tournament in France.
“It was quite an upbeat meeting. He talked about the previous games, which I’ve not been involved in. He just said, ‘We can either go one way, keep winning and stay the way we are, or we can go up another level in our performances’,” midfielder Jonjo Shelvey was quoted as saying by the British media on Thursday.
“Because there’s no reason why the England team with the players we’ve got in this country can’t go to the European Championships and win it’
“That’s what Roy wants us to do and what we want to do. He wants us to win and I’m sure we can,” he added.
“He also spoke about winning all 10 games in the group and hopefully we can go out and do that. There’s no reason why we can’t and I think we’ve got the ability in the team. No matter who plays, I feel anyone can do a job. But first we must get these two wins. The manager just made it clear he wants us to win and I’m sure we can.”
Shelvey will be turning out in an England jersey for the first time since 2012 and the 23-year-old is determined to cement his place in the squad.
Swansea City midfielder, who had a brief chat with Hodgson at training, asserted that the manager wants him to be in top form for Saturday’s clash.
“He was just telling me what he wanted me to do in terms of the session, to get on the ball and get us passing,” Shelvey said.
“I’m not a backwards and sideways player. I always try to pass it forward when I get the chance. And I feel that England needs someone to do that.”