Looking over their shoulders

As England fans we're all used to the national team being a disappointment, flailing around like fish out of water as soon as they come across a team that can keep possession for longer than 30 seconds. This latest 'golden generation' has been possibly the biggest let-down yet: a team packed with Champions League experience that consistently looks like an amateur side when it comes to the top levels of international football.

However, that is about to change, apparently, with a new generation of young players coming through, one that is sure to fulfil all of our hopes and dreams, right? Well, at least John Terry is looking over his shoulder; he's even had time to say that he wanted Chelsea to sign Manchester United's Phil Jones.

'We all feel that pressure of them pushing us and fighting for places,' Terry said. 'They firmly believe in themselves as club players and feel they can make this step up. In the long-term that's great for the whole squad, but we're obviously looking over our shoulders.

'They're all very comfortable,' said the England captain. 'The way they've come in and expressed themselves has been great. It's always time to freshen things up and if the younger players are good enough, they're old enough. A lot of these younger guys have benefited from going out on loan – the likes of Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge, too – and have great ability. That's also reassuring for the future.

'He (Jones) made his debut (for Blackburn) against us, playing very well against Didier Drogba, and we were eager for Chelsea to go and sign him even then. He's very quick, good in the air, very comfortable on the ball, and he reads it very well as well. He literally has all the attributes that he'll need to become a very good England player.

'And from what I've seen of him this week, he's even come on leaps and bounds from where he was last year. The eagerness to improve is key. He's the one who really sticks out in our position. He's one I'm looking over my shoulder at. He clearly wants a place in the England side, whether that's mine or someone else's. He's hungry for that. But I'm fortunate enough to have the shirt at the moment and it's down to me to keep it regardless of how the other guys are playing.

'The older players are really keen to go and do well in the tournament next summer. Whether this is our last, or the next one is, we're not going to give it up easily. But we also know that if we're not performing for our clubs, the manager won't pick us. There was an example of that this week with Rio being left out of the squad, and we all know what a great player he is. But the manager won't take crap from anyone. If you're not playing, it doesn't matter who you are, you won't be picked.'

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