Gareth Southgate has warned England cannot wait another four years to win trophies – and must start “maximising” the potential in his squad.
Southgate believes England now have a strong blend of experience and youth and they will not have many better opportunities to become successful on the international stage.
But Southgate warned the older heads – like Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson – will get fed-up of waiting and missed opportunities and they must start winning.
England reached the World Cup semi finals in 2018, they reached the Nations League finals in 2019 and now have the Euros next summer which Southgate sees as a glorious opportunity.
Three Lions boss Southgate said: “What we have got is some depth now back up by more youngsters we think can come through as well.
“So the long-term for England looks good, we’ve got to keep winning in the short-term and make sure we maximise this group now and the experienced players amongst them.
“They don’t want to hear us say ‘we can win in four years’ time.’ That is not going to float their boat. They want to win now.
“Although some of the younger ones will be better prepared in that longer period, there is no reason why we cannot align the two and have some very exciting times.”
Southgate does fear the biggest obstacle to England’s aspirations will be injuries and also the gruelling fixture list and schedule of an unprecedented season.
That has already led to Liverpool defender Joe Gomez suffering a serious injury while the likes of Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford missed the latest round of internationals and that must be a worry ahead of the start of World Cup qualifiers in March.
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Southgate said: “I guess club managers have three 10-day periods of doing that and we have six months. It is a worry, we hope the small injuries don’t become too many like Joe’s that are significant.
“But we’ve always said this is why we need a squad, this year will be the biggest advocate of that because we just don’t know who we will have for March or the end of the season.”