England have the opportunity to uplift the nation – Dominic Calvert-Lewin

England striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin says his team-mates realise the potential of what they can do for the country at this summer’s European Championship.

The Three Lions kick off their campaign with a group match against Croatia in front of 22,500 home fans at Wembley on Sunday.

The tournament, played mainly on home soil, will be a chance for England to bring some joy to the nation after a difficult 18 months during the coronavirus pandemic.

England v San Marino – FIFA World Cup 2022 – European Qualifying – Group I – Wembley Stadium
Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates scoring against San Marino (Carl Recine/PA)

People have suffered incredible loss and isolation as the virus twice gripped the nation, so Calvert-Lewin knows what a successful competition could do to lift spirits.

“It has been a very difficult period of time for everybody and us as England players and England representatives have the opportunity to uplift the nation,” the Everton striker said on England’s YouTube show the Lions’ Den.

“Everyone loves the football and loves to watch England in the Euros and in competition. It is down to us to spread that joy and happiness.

“We also saw what happened when England made it to the semi-finals (in 2018) and how everyone was uplifted. For it to come after such a difficult period of time, where people were stuck in the house, to have that opportunity is something us as players are really aware of and really realise what we can do.”

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England are one of the favourites to win the tournament this summer.

As well as thrilling attacking options and home advantage, Calvert-Lewin also says the unity in the squad can help.

“It’s a together squad, it gels really well and it has got the right balance of age and experience,” he said.

“The first thing I noticed when I stepped into the squad was how easy it was to step in and feel like I have been here for ages.

“It always helps when you get on off the pitch and build those relationships and spend so much time together. It always helps when the going gets tough on the pitch because you want to get your mate out of trouble and trust your mate to get you out of trouble.”