ENGLAND’S supporters are not the only ones feeling the buzz after the World Cup – the country’s Young Lions are already dreaming of Qatar.
Gareth Southgate and his squad returned home from Russia on Sunday as heroes after capturing the nation’s hearts on their run to the semi-finals.
The feel-good factor amongst the England sides is at an all-time high after the senior side’s efforts and the World Cup triumphs of the Under-17s and U20s last year.
Now the U19s are looking to add another accolade to the trophy cabinet at St. George’s Park by retaining the European Championship crown in Finland and begin their own quest to be part of the next World Cup in 2022.
England captain and Chelsea starlet Trevoh Chalobah, 19, exclusively told SunSport: “I think everyone feels like this is the best time for us England players. Watching what the first-team have done, it has given all of us youngsters confidence.
“Trent Alexander-Arnold has shown that the hard work he has put in for his club gained Gareth Southgate’s trust and his inclusion gives huge hope for the rest of us.
“For me, watching the World Cup, it just brought me so much joy and made me realise how much I loved football. It’s great to see the manager bringing in a lot of young players and they are playing really exciting football.”
Chalobah, whose brother Nathaniel could possibly have been part of Southgate’s side in Russia but for an injury picked up in training at Watford, added: “My brother trained with the England team last season and that was a really good experience for him.
“Hopefully at the next World Cup me and him can both be in there.
“I don’t think any of us can wait for 2022 and that is all of our aims to keep working hard towards that and try to be a part of it.
“But this is where that journey begins now – getting experience at tournaments like this.
“And after the success of last year we want to win this tournament and I hope I can help bring my experience to the group – all the boys are fired up and ready.”
Despite distant dreams of pulling on the Three Lions crest in Qatar, Chalobah is focused on the more immediate challenge that awaits him and his team-mates in Finland.
England kick-off their campaign against Turkey on Tuesday in Seinajoki before facing Ukraine on Friday and a final group showdown France three days later.
And the defender, who has joined Ipswich Town on a season-long loan, has an extra incentive to do well after suffering agony 12 months ago.
Chalobah, playing an age-group up, was part of last year’s title-winning squad but was forced out of the tournament in the final group game after suffering ankle ligament damage.
And being unable to lift the trophy in person and only watching at home on TV has made him even more determined to achieve glory this month.
He said: “That was a big blow for me personally. I was playing so well and started the first few games and then I unfortunately got the injury. But I’m back now feeling fit and strong and I’m just ready to show what I can do and bring that experience from last year to the team.
ENGLAND’S U19 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Ellery Balcombe (Brentford), Jamie Cumming (Chelsea)
Defenders: Trevoh Chalobah (Ipswich Town, on loan from Chelsea), Nathan Ferguson (West Bromwich Albion), Ed Francis (Almere City, on loan from Manchester City), Tariq Lamptey (Chelsea), Dujon Sterling (Coventry City, on loan from Chelsea), Japhet Tanganga (Tottenham Hotspur)
Midfielders: Tom Bayliss (Coventry City), Elliot Embleton (Sunderland), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Nya Kirby (Crystal Palace), Adam Lewis (Liverpool), Max Sanders (Brighton & Hove Albion), Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough), Kelland Watts (Newcastle United)
Forwards: Ben Brereton (Nottingham Forest), Niall Ennis (Wolverhampton Wanderers), George Hirst (OH Leuven), Ben Morris (Ipswich Town)
“After playing all qualifiers to then watch the games when I was back at home injured shows how much I wanted to be a part of it. I knew we had great players, everyone on the bench could come on and make an impact, so I was confident that they would do well and they did.
“But that’s one of the main reasons why I did say I wanted to come back here this year. I had the option to stay at my loan club but I said I wanted to come as I felt it was important, with me being captain, to try and lift that trophy. And I’ll be giving it everything to do that.”
He continued: “It would be a huge achievement for us. To see the U20s and U17s winning it last year, that really motivated us as a team and brought a real togetherness amongst us. I think we are ready for that challenge but our first aim is to win these Euros.
“This tournament is packed full of good teams and the most important thing for us is to not underestimate anyone and stay focused. We have to stick to game plan and the England DNA and try and show everyone that this country has good players.”
And the Euros is not the only challenge Chalobah is looking forward to over what promises to be an exciting campaign for the youngster.
He added: “I’m really excited to see what the future holds with Ipswich. I started pre-season with them two weeks before I came here which helped me to get to know the players and manager.
“I was unable to go on loan last season due to the injury, but I think this year I’m ready and it’s time for me to step up and show what I can do.”