England hero Ainsley Maitland-Niles says they are desperate to write their names into the history books after reaching the Under-20s World Cup final.
Teenager Dominic Solanke scored twice while Everton’s Ademola Lookman was also on target in a 3-1 win over Italy to set up a showdown with Venezuela and a first final for a men’s team since 1966.
Arsenal midfielder Maitland-Niles told Mirror Sport: “It feels fantastic to make history, the first time since 1966 and it makes us feel so proud to know the country is right behind us.
“We’re now dreaming of lifting the trophy, that’s what we’re all hoping for and it’s an incredible feeling to play for England and hopefully go all the way.”
England came back from a goal down to win and 19-year-old Maitland-Niles – rated highly by Arsene Wenger – says that shows their strength of character and he believes it is also a chance for the players to prove they can break into their first teams.
Maitland-Niles said: “I came back into the dressing room and got a text from my Dad, people at Arsenal and physios and coaches. It gives you so much confidence.
“It’s a brilliant experience to play at a tournament for England, it’s great for your career and also a chance to prove to your club what you can do on the pitch and you can hopefully play at the highest level.
“We stayed calm even when we went behind, we played well and now we hope we can win the final. We can’t get carried away and push ourselves too much but we feel we are a good team as anyone and can beat anyone.”