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Champions League

Mason Mount and Chelsea’s Champions League winners can be backbone to Euro 2020 success – Stan Collymore

Chelsea’s Champions League victory could be massive for their three England stars Mason Mount, Ben Chilwell and Reece James.

They will go into Euro 2021 brimming with confidence and, not only will that be good for them, it will be good for the group as a whole, too.

Only a month ago, we were having debates about Mount versus Phil Foden or Jack Grealish, Chilwell versus Luke Shaw, and James versus Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker or Trent Alexander-Arnold for places in the starting line-up.

Yet Mount and Chilwell are now 100 per cent starters for England on the back of stellar seasons and particularly the way they ended it.

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People will go, ‘Come on, Stan, Luke Shaw has to be left-back’, but I disagree.

Ben Chilwell has made himself a sure starter for England
Ben Chilwell has made himself a sure starter for England

Chilwell has been this consistent for two or three years now, he is unflustered, he has old-school attributes, he likes to defend first but still get forward into advanced positions, and is a Rolls-Royce of an athlete.

Likewise, Mount is nailed on as England’s first-choice midfielder.

Obviously, Gareth Southgate might want him to play further forward, but his name will be on the teamsheet before most others regardless of where he plays.

The one I’m not convinced about as a starter is James.

Don’t get me wrong, I like him, I like his athleticism, I like his qualities.

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But he has the toughest ask in terms of nailing down his place and, while he ultimately had a very good game in the Champions League final, he was caught out early on by a long ball from Ederson and, had Raheem Sterling scored from it, the whole game could have been so different.

Regardless, the confidence the Chelsea guys will bring will be undoubted and the same goes for Foden who, like John Stones and Sterling, reported for duty as a recently-crowned champion of England.

Jordan Henderson has won major honours both domestically and abroad at club level, and Kieran Trippier, whose place in the squad wasn’t assured, arrived after winning La Liga with Atletico Madrid.

So there is plenty of experience now and it’s proof that all that work that started with England Under-17s and Under-19s eight or nine years ago is bearing fruit.

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Now these boys are winning trophies at club level, I want to see it translate to international level and we are getting closer and closer to winning a World Cup or European Championship.

And once we break that glass ceiling, then with Mount, James, Foden, Jack Grealish, Chilwell, Sterling, Harry Kane, Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham, England can go into tournaments and say, rightly, that instead of British bookies having us 3-1 favourites, we really are 3-1 favourites around the world.

That’s where France are right now.

You look at Didier Deschamps’ men and go, ‘They’ve got multiple Champions League winners, multiple league winners, players playing across Europe and being successful’.

And they have been there since their World Cup win in 1998 and thanks to the hard work that has gone into producing players through their Clairefontaine system.

England need to smash through that glass ceiling and they need to do it at this Euros, the World Cup in Qatar next year or Euro 2024.

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Otherwise we will lose the momentum that this special group of young talented players who are now winning things at club level has got us.

If we don’t win any of those tournaments there can be no more excuses, no more ‘Golden Generations’, no more codswallop.

We’d be back to square one and, frankly, we can’t let that happen.

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