Dele Alli has claimed England are on track to become the best team in the world.
England face Montenegro tonight aiming to back up Friday’s 5-0 thrashing of the Czech Republic with a second Euro 2020 qualification victory, which would see them take early control of Group A.
The Euro campaign comes after England followed their first World Cup semi-final appearance in 28 years by reaching the Nations League finals in June.
England occupy fifth place in FIFA’s world rankings and Alli is targeting top spot as this young team continues to develop under Gareth Southgate.
“We want to be the No1 team and to do that you have to be at it in every game and when you come away you have to prove yourself every time,” said Alli, who was facing a late fitness test on his hamstring for Monday night’s game.
“We believe we can be the best in the world. Everyone will have their opinions but the work we’ve been putting in is to achieve that. There’s a long way to go, a lot of work to be done, but we are heading in the right direction.”
The task ahead should be made easier by the post-World Cup emergence of several young talents such as Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi.
“They’re both fantastic players, they’re still young but have already proven they can cope at this level,” said Tottenham star Alli.
“I’ve seen them in training and they’re amazing one-on-one and things like that. They’re entertaining to watch which is great for the fans. But at the same time, they’re great team players.
“I’ve played against Callum at Chelsea, been watching Sancho play for Dortmund and what he’s been doing has been great.
“It’s good for English football as well, seeing what Sancho is doing in Germany. It’s exciting times. It’s good to watch them, try to give them advice every now and then, but they’re great players.”
For the first time in 10 seasons, four teams from one country will contest the Champions League quarter-finals and Alli says the achievement of Spurs, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool reaching the last eight will have a positive knock-on effect for England.
“For me, the Premier League is the best league in the world,” he added. “It’s great for England as well. We will have different experiences, different challenges and when we come away, a lot of us are in the same position for the clubs and we’re fighting together.
“We’re rivals at club level but everyone can see when you come here that we all get on. You put it all behind you and it feels great.”