Marcus Rashford says this England squad is unburdened by disappointments of the past and fully focused on making history of their own against Germany.
Anticipation is already building ahead of Tuesday’s Euro 2020 last-16 tie, with more than 40,000 due at Wembley as the Three Lions look to keep hopes alive of this being a summer to remember.
Standing in their way are a side with a history of breaking English hearts, from the 1990 World Cup and Euro 96 semi-finals to the 2010 World Cup round of 16.
The Frank Lampard ghost goal in Bloemfontein is Rashford’s first memory of England matches against Germany, which goes some way to explaining why this group is not dealing with any baggage from previous meetings.
“We are being put in a position where we are blessed to be part of that history,” the 23-year-old forward said.
“Our main focus is to win the game, but if we do it gets put in history. That’s how great teams are remembered for many, many years.
“There is no point fearing the past. You can’t go back and change it.
“What we can change is the result of the next game and put ourselves in the best possible position to win the game.”
While next week’s match will bring a sense of dread to some onlookers, Rashford made the point that “some of the players weren’t even born” when some of the previous galling losses to Germany took place.
The forward also pointed to England’s improved approach playing against top nations under Southgate, whose squad will not be getting caught up in the brouhaha surrounding the last-16 tie.
“Anyone who is a fan of football, you get built up for these type of games and rightly so,” Rashford said. “In camp, it is different because as a player you have to be focused.
“You don’t have time to get involved in that build-up because there’s just too much emotion in the game and if you go on the pitch with all that build-up, we could end up with eight men on the pitch.
“So, yeah, we’re just concentrated. We are going to have a proper training week and hopefully be at our best come the game.”
Rashford spoke about looking to win the ‘England Way’ on Tuesday, which he said was to “show some good football, work hard for each other and score and create goals”.
The Manchester United striker will be hoping to get a chance to do that from the start on Tuesday, having come off the bench in all three Group D games hot on the heels of an injury-impacted season.
“Obviously I am not performing at my best and what I know I can perform to,” Rashford said.
“Whatever that is down to, it doesn’t really matter because it has been going on since early on in the season. I managed to get through the season with United.
“I think I had 36 goal involvements so I can’t look back at the year and say ‘mmm, I should have taken time off to do this and do that’. That’s just not the way I look at things. I just want to be available for every game.”
Asked if there is a physical reason, he added: “I don’t think that’s a secret, to be honest with you.
“I think it’s quite well known and to get to this stage where I am now, it was a massive aim of mine back at the beginning of the season.
“So, like I said, I’m happy, I’m prepared mentally and physically for the games.”
Rashford says a decision on whether to go under the knife will be taken after the Euros and claims to be unsure how long any surgery would rule him out.
“I am fully concentrated on here,” he said. “When the tournament is finished then I will ask the question.
“It’s either an operation or I don’t get an operation. Probably my shoulder but I’m not 100 per cent sure if I need it yet. So I’ll just take it as it comes.
“I’ll finish strong here and like I said I’ve got a few weeks off to just relax and decide what I’m going to do.”