England head into a home double-header of Euro 2020 qualifiers over the next few days in confident, relaxed mood as the smooth progress of the past eighteen months allows Gareth Southgate to assimilate new players and different options into a squad that remain at ease with each other and sure in their roles.
A Wembley clash with Bulgaria on Saturday should pose few problems for a side with ten goals in two qualifying matches to date and although Kosovo may be more of a threat at St Mary’s on Tuesday it will be a surprise if the Three Lions do not maintain their 100% record.
One of the most positive features for Southgate is that he will be picking a team of players who have all been playing regularly in the top-flight during the opening weeks of the Premier League season.
That doesn’t just include the big names such as Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane but new and relatively new additions to the squad like Tyrone Mings, Mason Mount, James Maddison and Callum Wilson.
Interviewed by The Guardian about England’s younger players, FA technical director Les Reed spoke positively this week of the greater opportunities that currently exist for the likes of Chelsea midfielder Mount.
Reed said: “We've got a number now leading the way in getting in the top six teams and showing they can do it.
"It’s turning, although there’s a long way to go to make that upward movement consistent. The combination of interest from abroad [in English players] and one or two making headway at the top end of the English game will open the door for a lot more."