LONDON – England manager Gareth Southgate believes his youthful squad are good enough to make an impact at the World Cup.
Southgate named an inexperienced squad on Wednesday, with Gary Cahill the only one of the 23 players to boast more than 50 caps.
England are building for the future but Southgate said that did not mean they would not be going all out for success in Russia.
“I don't think when you're involved with England you can ever write any tournament off,” Southgate told a press conference on Thursday. “That wouldn't be acceptable. We know that teams who win them tend to be more experienced. That's what Germany and Spain have done over the years.”
The average age of England's squad is just under 26, but Southgate said anything is possible.
“With this group we don't really know,” he said. ”We have faith in them and know they lack big match experience but can be very exciting now and even more in the future.
“But I don't want to limit them: they're young and hungry and want to have a go. We will embrace the tournament.”
Southgate said he will decide the captain after they meet up on Sunday, following the FA Cup final.
Tottenham's Harry Kane and Liverpool's Jordan Henderson, who will only join the squad after the Champions League final on May 26, look prime contenders.
“When we've been more successful like in (19)96 we had six or seven captains in the team,” he said. “We get together on Sunday and can think about it then.”
The manager, part of the last England side to reach the last four of a major tournament at Euro 1996, said he was delighted with the 23 men he had selected.
But Southgate admitted he had not enjoyed telling the likes of goalkeeper Joe Hart that they had not made the squad.
“It's never a pleasant process to deliver bad news to anyone,” he said. “Naming a team and leaving players out is one of the biggest challenges for any manager. I've been a player and I know how it felt.
“When I look back it mattered that the manager had the decency to speak to me in the most respectful way possible.”