KYLE WALKER claims England have earned the right to show “arrogance” at the World Cup — because they are more talented than the Golden Generation.
And the Three Lions have even more reason to be confident after skipper Harry Kane returned to training on Wednesday after an ankle injury scare.
Walker believes the current England team are better than the “Golden Generation”[/caption]
Walker, part of Gareth Southgate’s team when they reached the last four of the 2018 World Cup and last summer’s Euros final, says England’s players are embracing increased expectations.
The defender, 32, who fought back from groin surgery to make Southgate’s squad, says confidence is surging ahead of Friday’s clash with USA.
Walker said: “We’ve earned the right to have more expectation and that’s not a bad thing. When you have expectations it means you are a good team.”
The Three Lions thumped Iran 6-2 in Monday’s Group B opener.
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Walker added: “There’s a very fine line between confidence and arrogance.
“We have to be confident and we need to take a little bit of arrogance into the game.
“You go out there with your chest out and your head held high and you walk out there thinking ‘we’re going to win today’.
“If you are doubting yourself you are losing the game already.
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“So expectation is good. But we need to be calm, we need to be together.
“Through 90 minutes it’s never going to go swimmingly well. There are going to be periods when you are going to have to weather the storm and you have to do that collectively as a team.”
Bullish Walker also believes the current crop of youngsters are more talented than the previous “Golden Generation” who failed to live up to their potential in international football during.
He said: “You see the likes of Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Jack Grealish, Declan Rice. These players are not as what we’ve seen growing up from the England team, where it’s all about ‘you wear your heart on your sleeve and you go out and your hard work gets you through’.
“That’s no disrespect to any of the players – Wayne Rooney, Joe Cole, David Beckham – these players had an array of talent but probably not as much talent as these have got.
“It’s a joy that the English game is actually developing in that way.”
There were fears for skipper Kane’s fitness after he was sent for a hospital scan as a precaution after suffering a knock on his ankle in England’s 6-2 win over Iran.
Asked about Kane, keeper Jordan Pickford said: “He’s good. He will probably be a little bit sore but I think he’s fine. He’s out on the grass with us today and that’s good. He’s our captain and he’s fine.
“Harry is an unbelievable player, he sets the example in the squad, he’s a leader, he’s the captain and we all look up to him.”
But Pickford admitted that James Maddison, who turned 26 on Wednesday, has yet to return to training.
This not only rules him out of Friday’s United States game but means he looks also set to be unavailable for the final group match against Wales on Monday.
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The Leicester midfielder, a shock call-up to the squad, has managed just one training session with England since hurting his knee against West Ham.
There was also good news on Harry Maguire who took part in a full session after feeling unwell against Iran.