Jacob Ramsey says the current crop of England Under-21s are better equipped to win the European Championship than some of the previous stars.
Lee Carsley’s side are in Georgia for Euro 2023 and kick off their campaign against Czech Republic next Thursday.
A host of players who went on to become established England internationals have come through the youth system over the years, but did not perform on the biggest stage, with five of the last six European Championships ending in a group-stage exit.
Ramsey, who had a fine Premier League campaign for Aston Villa, says Carsley’s group have a different mentality.
“One thing that I will say about this group – when we’ve looked at previous groups before, and previous camps, there’s probably a different mentality,” he said.
“I think, before, people have put us down as big favourites and that we’ve gone there to win it. But in this group we’ve got a bit of a humble side. I think everyone knows how well we can play together, and we probably are one of the favourites.
“But we will go into this tournament respecting every team. For my personal opinion in this group, I feel like we’ve got the right balance and, hopefully, when we go out there we will show that.”
It helps that Carsley has been able to select a side that is packed with Premier League experience, with the likes of Ramsey, Morgan Gibbs-White, Emile Smith Rowe, Anthony Gordon, Oliver Skipp and Harvey Elliott all regulars in the top flight.
“Obviously, going into a major tournament for the 21s, it is a big thing,” Ramsey added.
“But I think if you look at the clubs that the lads are playing for – Liverpool, Man City, even the lower end of the table with Forest and stuff, they are playing for a bigger prize than this tournament.
“But, I think that nearly everyone in this squad has Premier League experience, there’s no pressure like playing in the Premier League in front of 60,000 at Old Trafford, at the Emirates, at the Etihad, so hopefully we can bring that experience and help the boys who haven’t played as much or bring it into this tournament and gel together.”
The 22-year-old ended the season in fine form for Villa under Unai Emery as they qualified for the Europa Conference League.
He scored six goals and produced seven assists as Emery moved him further up the field following Steven Gerrard’s exit and has loved life under the Spaniard.
“I feel like I’ve probably had my best season so far, to date,” he said. “I feel like I’ve left Villa, and the season, strongly. I feel like I’ve put up some good numbers and good performances.
“I’m enjoying it. I enjoy working with him and his coaching staff. The players are loving it, the style of play, the details and intensity of the training.
“It’s really good. I don’t think one player at Villa at the moment could not say they are enjoying it. Whether you’re playing or not playing I think there’s a good vibe around the camp, so I’m enjoying it.
“I think if you compare my role under the previous manager, and my role now, I’m playing a little higher up, so I’m one of the players who he’s demanding to get assists, get goals and creating chances.
“Whereas before I was playing in the middle, playing as a number eight, so I was more box-to-box, whereas now he’s putting a lot of pressure on me to create chances for Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey – players like that.
“When he’s come in he’s put a lot of pressure on me, which is always good to have him demanding me to go and get in the box, scoring goals, get assistance and creating chances.”