Roy Hodgson is excited about his side’s potential but is not getting carried away ahead of England’s final friendly before having to decide on his Euro 2016 squad.
Impressive progress has been made since their embarrassing World Cup exit, having gone through qualification for this summer’s tournament with a 100 per cent record.
England have lost just one of 17 matches after returning from Brazil and tonight welcome Holland to Wembley looking to build on back-to-back wins over Euro 2016 favourites France and Germany.
It is the final chance for the players to step out for the Three Lions before Hodgson announces his squad on May 12 and comes on the back of Saturday’s impressive 3-2 comeback win against Joachim Low’s world champions.
The England boss squirmed when asked whether he thought they can win the tournament – “whatever I say, I am going to make headlines” – but the belief in his inexperienced side was clear, if restrained.
“They haven’t yet done it in a tournament,” Hodgson said.
“We still don’t really know… quite how they’re going to perform in tournament conditions against these much more experienced teams.
“Germany have already got experience of winning a tournament and reaching semi-finals, and France are the home nation, so the question still remains an impossible one to answer.
“I can only be boring and cliche-ridden in saying that I believe in the team. Absolutely.
“I believe we are going to be ready and I believe the players will go into games believing they can win them.
“And I believe they’ll go into the tournament believing they can do well but then for me to say this is what we’re going to do would be foolhardy and dishonest because I don’t know.”
Hodgson may not want to talk up England’s chances but they are fourth favourites to win a tournament that Tuesday’s opponents will not even be at.
Danny Drinkwater is set to make his debut against Holland and Danny Rose is likely to win his second cap, while Fraser Forster, stand-in captain James Milner and Daniel Sturridge will start at Wembley.
The latter will make his first England appearance in 19 months and Hodgson hopes the oft-injured Liverpool striker, like Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck, can use prove his fitness and ability before the season is out.
“We’re pleased to have another quality player like Daniel available and knocking on the door, trying to make it clear that he should be the first name on the team sheet,” the England boss said of Sturridge.
“All I can do is to give him the opportunity when he comes with the England team.
“I hope he continues to get those opportunities as well with his club side and that he’ll take those opportunities and will continue to get more games behind him.”
Hodgson added: “I don’t see any reason at the moment to doubt the pair of them or their ability and capacity to challenge and to show us they’re the best people for the job.
“But the next few weeks are important for those two because I’d like to see them getting a bit more match play and fitness under their belts.”