Luke Shaw has revealed how the entire England squad has been inspired by a specially-commissioned video.
Gareth Southgate gathered his players ahead of training to show them footage of England’s greatest players down the years.
“It was about the past players and how important they were to this nation,” said Shaw. “And at the end of the video there was a little bit about us. I don’t want to go into too much detail but the video was very inspiring.
“You felt like you got a lot of confidence and belief from watching that video.
“That is what I felt personally and I looked around the whole group and felt like everyone had that same feeling.”
And Shaw, who was part of the England squad in Brazil for World Cup 2014, was at pains to point out just how much of a group this collection of players is.
He said: “We spoke about that earlier. When I first came back into the camp, the first thing I said to my girlfriend when I got back home was how close the group is. I hadn’t experienced that for a while.
“When I was in the England squads when I was younger, it didn’t feel as close as it is now. The group is not just little cliques of four here and four there. Everyone is together and everyone wants to push for what we want to achieve. This group is so strong now and so close it will only benefit us when we go out on the pitch.”
Meanwhile, Ben White says his England call-up has ‘still not sunk in’ and is ‘surreal’ and ‘mind blowing’.
But the Brighton defender has supreme confidence in his ability to take yet another giant step in his footballing career.
“I’ve played in all the leagues and before each league I was wondering if I could step up to this league,” he explained. “And year after year I have managed to do that. This is another one.
“Start? Why not? I’m ready.”
White’s breakthrough season came on loan at Leeds United but the 23-year-old played down the influence of Marcelo Bielsa, saying: “I wasn’t made last year, I’ve worked hard for 10 years and it doesn’t just come in a year and then you’re doing well.
“I had two loans before that and that helped me build to perform at the level I have.”
And during those years, White has had a voracious appetite for learning, with one particular England old boy his inspiration.
He said: “I try to pick a little bit out of each defender. Watching the PL every week you can see the different types of players and try to pick different things. Rio Ferdinand was the one for me.”