'They've climbed a mountain': James O'Brien on why this England squad is 'different'

8 July 2021, 12:48

By Tim Dodd

James O'Brien reflects on why this England football squad seems 'different', as they make it to the final of Euro 2020.

It comes as England reached their first major final in 55 years after beating Denmark 2-1 in extra time in a thrilling Euro 2020 semi-final at Wembley

James began by pointing out: "They don't look like lottery winners, they don't look like they've been plucked from relative obscurity and dropped into this goldfish board of epic attention and rewards.

"The difference between the post match interviews is fascinating as well. You're not going to get any of them pulling each other's pants down or pouring champagne over each other's heads... They were already thinking about the next game."

READ MORE: 'Idiot' shines laser in Denmark goal keeper's face during England's winning penalty 

James continued: "I think previous generations would almost have felt that they'd already won the cup by getting to the final, but this lot are already looking over the horizon, and that is really incredible to see. 

"It's so un-English. It's so at odds with the English football team's tradition - the plucky loser, the kind of frustrated winners who never quite get over the line. This lot will not be happy unless they win the whole thing."

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James then clarified his position that the England team don't look like lottery winners:

"I can see evidence of every rung of the ladder they've climbed on their hands and in their faces. For example, Kalvin Phillips would not have been anywhere near England if he hadn't grafted and grafted.

"Rashford talking about having a panic attack when he was playing for the under 16s - they've been there. They've got the lunchbox, they've got the scars of struggling up the ladder. 

"They don't look like lottery winners, they look like people who've climbed a mountain, rather than people who've been dropped on the top of it.

READ MORE: Jubilant England fans celebrate semi-final win over Denmark