Rice: England's togetherness can take us to Nations League glory
Declan Rice believes England are ready to lift silverware when they head to the UEFA Nations League finals in Portugal this week.
The Three Lions are in the final four of the inaugural Europe-wide tournament, after coming through a group featuring Spain and Croatia in the autumn.
A semi-final against the Netherlands in Guimaraes awaits on Thursday evening, before the winner faces Portugal or Switzerland in Sunday’s final.
Twelve months on from reaching the FIFA World Cup semi-finals, Rice, who made his debut for Gareth Southgate’s men in March, wants to play his part in landing a trophy.
He believes the team spirit fostered by Southgate and his assistant Steve Holland will prove key to them achieving their aim.
“I think it’s a massive week, a really important tournament. We’ve got ourselves into the semi-final and we’ve got a massive chance now to create history.
“With the squad we have and the players Gareth has brought in for sure we’ve got to be looking at winning the Nations League. That would stand us in good stead for the Euros and future World Cups.
“I felt comfortable the moment I walked through the door for my first camp back in March. All the lads made me feel welcome. I knew most of them anyway from playing against them and one thing I can say is that Gareth has really got this squad together.
“All the lads get on and nobody is left out, they all make you feel comfortable and I’m very grateful for that.
We’ve got ourselves into the semi-final and we’ve got a massive chance now to create history
“Ending the season how we did gives me loads of confidence. It was a bit of an up-and-down season overall, but we ended it well and when you come into a camp like this you’re surrounded by top players, who are playing at the top, the confidence is high.
“Gareth and Steve have structured it really well in this camp. The season ended and they gave us a week off, fully off our feet. Then eleven of us came in for the first week and the training was tough to get us back in it.
“Then week, Jadon [Sancho] and the City boys joined us, and finally the Liverpool and Spurs players, so we’ve been able open up the areas a little bit and work on what we want to in games.”
We’ll have part two of Declan Rice’s interview on Thursday, in which he examines how England can overcome the Netherlands in their UEFA Nations League semi-finals.