Jesse Lingard says England manager Gareth Southgate has given the squad the confidence to play without fear ahead of their World Cup opener against Tunisia on Monday.
Much is expected of England’s youthful and energetic squad and under Southgate there has been an obvious lift towards a winning mentality.
‘Southgate has come in with the mentality to play with freedom, play without fear, and you will enjoy your time more,’ Lingard said.
Jesse Lingard insists England are heading into their World Cup opener on Monday ‘fearless’
The young squad have spent time building up team spirit with activities such as bowling
‘So, as a group of players, that is what we are going to do – enjoy our football, play with no fear and play exciting football at the same time.
‘Of course, we want to go all the way to the final, but we are going to take each game as it comes and prepare for each game as we normally do.’
The 25-year-old said it had been easy to adapt to Southgate’s methods as he had worked with him at youth level.
Attacking midfielder Lingard believes boss Gareth Southgate has played a key role in mentality
Southgate has instilled a belief in his players that England can go deep into the tournament
‘He understands the way I play,’ Lingard added. ‘To work with him at youth level as well, then coming into the first-team set-up, that’s always going to help.’
Lingard has impressed in the build-up to the tournament and will be pushing for a starting berth in Volgograd on Monday.
England, who are on a 10-game unbeaten run, will also take on Belgium and Panama in Group G.