Former England stars loved their time on the international stage

Playing international football at a major tournament is widely recognised as one of the biggest accolades a professional footballer can achieve during their career.

Hundreds of players are currently living the dream, with the 2020 European Championships currently taking place across the continent.

England are one of the favourites to lift the prestigious trophy, although they face a tough task with the competition packed with a plethora of top-class teams.

The Three Lions got off to a winning start at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, with Raheem Sterling’s goal securing a fully deserved 1-0 victory over Croatia.

The team are back in action on Friday as they go head-to-head with rivals Scotland and they will be desperate to follow up with another win.

While the current crop of players are focused on the job at hand, there are many others who have been left to keep track of their progress from the comfort of their own homes.

Brighton & Hove Albion striker Danny Welbeck is amongst that group, with his England career seemingly over after nearly three years out of the squad.

Welbeck knows what it is like to play in major tournaments having previously represented his country at the World Cup and European Championships.

During a recent video interview with Betway, the 30-year-old admitted what he had been taught as a young player helped him cope with the unique demands of international football.

“The whole country is behind you,” he said. “Growing up at Manchester United Academy, we were always told ‘you know to play the game and not the occasion’.

“Try and take that the pressure and use it as a positive.”

Welbeck’s Brighton teammate Adam Lallana is in a similar predicament this summer, with his last England appearance coming against Italy in a friendly in March 2018.

The 33-year-old has been capped 34 times by his country, but has seen an exciting crop of young attacking talent leave him in their wake over the past few years.

While he admits to being frustrated at no longer being part of the England set-up, Lallana insists that he was delighted to have had the opportunity to represent his country.

“I’ll look back one day once I’ve retired and be extremely proud of those occasions and moments during my career,” he said.

“When you when win there’s no better feeling than football. It’s worth fighting through the disappointments just to achieve those moments.”

Both Welbeck and Lallana will be cheering England on this summer, with the team well-placed to qualify for the next phase of Euro 2020.

They face Scotland and Czech Republic in their remaining group games, before the tournament becomes a straight knockout from that point.

France, Italy and Belgium are amongst England’s biggest threats, while it would be foolish to underestimate Germany, Spain and Portugal.

Given that England haven’t won a major tournament since 1996, the current team will undoubtedly be desperate to go all the way this summer.

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