herald

Monday 18 June 2018

Alli: 'We can achieve greatness'

Promise: Dele Alli
Promise: Dele Alli

Dele Alli insists England are well prepared for the World Cup and the target is to "achieve greatness" in Russia.

England play their final warm-up game against Costa Rica at Elland Road tonight (live ITV, kick-off 8.0) before flying out to their base in Repino.

While Gareth Southgate's youthful squad are unlikely to be crushed by the weight of expectation experienced by previous players, Alli believes there is something special about the current crop.

"I don't think we can put limits on it, the sky is the limit," the Tottenham and England midfielder said when asked if the squad have set a target. "We have a young, hungry team that wants to achieve greatness, we want to bring the country together and achieve something great. We have got some great players all over the field and great experienced players as well to help the younger ones.

"We are raring to go, we have been doing a lot of work, we play a lot of football and a lot of us have been playing professionally for a long time now.

"Growing up as a kid, these are the moments you dream of being a part of and we have an opportunity to do that."

Alli was a key member of the England team which suffered a shock Euro 2016 elimination at the hands of Iceland. That not only saw Roy Hodgson leave his post as manager but also put plenty of the players in line for criticism.

But Alli, 22, is ready to use those experiences to make sure there is no repeat of their feeble exit this time around.

"I think we learned a lot as players, it was one of the best moments of my career and one of the worst as well with the way it ended," he added.

"But to represent your country at a major tournament is always an honour and I have got another chance to do it. There is a lot of belief we can achieve something great within the squad."

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