Tristan Plummer is convinced that the Three Lions can roar themselves to victory in the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup in Korea.
However, in order for the young Bristol City starlet to get his hands on the trophy, England will have to overcome the weight of history, not to mention qualify from a group which contains two continental champions [Brazil and New Zealand] as well as AFC runners-up Korea DPR.
Despite being FIFA World Cup™ winners and giants on the world stage, England have never won a FIFA youth competition, despite reaching two U-20 semi-finals. In fact, this is the first U-17 competition the team has qualified for, yet Plummer is confident that this England sidehave the potential to return home as champions.
"We can win it all," said Plummer. When asked which of the sides in England's Group B will pose the biggest threat, Plummer again has no worries. "We can beat them all. There is no point going to the World Cup thinking you won't win games - we have to be positive. Sure, Brazil will be a tough game but I think we have the skill to take them too."
England's skipper Jordan Spence of West Ham United's is slightly more reserved, but his words still echo the belief of his younger team-mate.
"We won't know too much about our group opponents heading into the tournament," the defender said. "But they are all in the World Cup for a reason and we have to respect them for getting there. That said, we are confident we can beat anyone we come up against."
But even the cool-headed skipper can't resist the dream of a world title, claiming cautiously: "This is the biggest tournament we can play in at this age and we are going there with one goal: to win it all."
The captain also knows the biggest first-round stumbling block will most likely be three-time U-17 world champions Brazil and their sparkling playmaker Lulinha. "Brazil is the game that sticks out - playing them is a once-in-a-life-time experience," Spence said. "But we don't want to look that far ahead. The first two games are the important ones. We want to win those so that we face Brazil with six points."
Both players know they will be a long way from home, but don't see the travel, jet lag and vastly different culture as a stumbling block. "I was in Japan with West Ham on a pre-season tour a year ago," said Spence. "It was an excellent experience. It was a very different experience to playing in Europe. You certainly felt a long way from home. But if we win, then it won't make a difference - winning breeds happiness and comfort."
Tristan too is unfazed by the prospect of playing in the Far East. "It's my first time in the Far East - I'm really looking forward to it. It will be a good experience," said the midfielder who knows full well that England's only major international title came on home soil in 1966. "It's always nice to do something different, like visiting other parts of the world."
First round first
John Peacock's side played no less than 21 games together in 2006/07 and display a tremendous team spirit that they hope will serve them well in Korea. However, looking ahead, they will need to take things one step at a time in their first U-17 finals.
The boys know that their first job is playing like a team and getting through the group and into the Round of 16. "Our first order of business is getting to the second round," Spence added. "I will get butterflies before the games, but there will be no fear. Ultimately, we are here on merit, both as a team and individually, so we should be confident."
For Tristan, the idea of playing on the world stage and all that it entails is enough to make him over the moon. "I have been thinking about it since the Euros. I'm very excited about playing at the World Cup - everyone is. My friends and family wanted to come out but they couldn't make it. They can watch the games on TV."
So, with the young Lions in buoyant mood, it seems as though England expects that they have the ability to go all the way - and give the fans back home something to cheer about.