Norwich City star Nathan Redmond helping to change perception of England Under-21s
- Credit: PA
Canaries winger Nathan Redmond believes the current Under-21 squad is changing the perception of young English players.
The age group's failure to get out of the group stage at each of the last two European Championships drew plenty of criticism – they earn too much money; do not care about representing their country; never replicate the form they produce for clubs who pay their enviable wages.
The Under-21s should provide hope for an exciting future but had, for some, become a byword for over-promotion.
However, Redmond thinks the way England have qualified for their latest Euro campaign, which begins on Thursday in the Czech Republic, means that those opinions have been laid to rest.
He said: 'When we started out two years ago on the back of the disappointment of last time I think we wanted to change how a lot of people view young, English players and I think a lot of our performances over the past couple of years have done that.
'A lot of people said we couldn't play, that we don't care and that we don't really want to come and play for England. It gets frustrating when you hear those things, but that is how things are perceived from outside the squad.
'We have lost one of our last 19 games and that was against a very good France side. We have beaten Germany, Portugal and Czech Republic and all of those teams are in the finals, so we have put ourselves up there as one of the top teams, I think.
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'Last time was really disappointing, but we can go into this tournament feeling really positive.'
Two years ago in Israel was particularly bad – England, including Redmond, lost all three matches, scoring just one goal.
Gareth Southgate's side get under way on against Portugal as they look for their first tournament win since 1984, but the Norwich winger insists the current crop of players do not feel the burden of history.
'I don't think it really applies to us,' he said.
'There is only myself, Jack Butland and Nathaniel Chalobah left from the last championships.
'From the first game when Gareth Southgate took over it was clear what we wanted to accomplish, which was qualifying for the finals, getting valuable tournament experience – which we did last season at the Toulon tournament – and we are using all that experience now to prepare us for what we are going to go into for the next couple of weeks. It has pretty much been a clean start.
'When we look back at it (Israel) we know how bad it was and we don't want to play like that again. We don't want that feeling of not winning a game and getting knocked out in the group stages.
'We have let the lads know how that felt. It was embarrassing, and now we have a group of players who work hard for each other and put themselves on the line and do ourselves proud.
'We are all together. I think you can see our togetherness out on the pitch in the way we play and how we all celebrate together when someone scores a goal.
'It doesn't really feel like an international squad, the togetherness is such that it has a club-feel to it and it feels like I'm back at Norwich. I think a lot of the lads would agree.'