Max Aarons admits England Under-21s are ready to be nasty in their quest to reach Euro 2023.
The Norwich defender wants the Young Lions to be more streetwise after their 2-0 win over Kosovo.
Lee Carsley started his reign with victory on Tuesday but Aarons believes the squad need to be prepared to get their hands dirty to reach a ninth straight tournament.
He said: “We definitely have the talent, ability and creative players. This time around we need to make sure on the other side of that we can be nasty as a team and do the other side of it really well.
“If we add that to our game to how we are on the ball, then I think we can be a really dangerous team.
“Some of the things I’ve seen in training from the boys, especially Tuesday as well, in the first half especially, we can be a really deadly team and kill teams off early on as well.
“It’s just about having that other side, especially when it comes to tournament level. Being aggressive and being all over the other team.
“That’s the other side we have to work on and we’ll keep building.”
Rhian Brewster’s penalty – his first goal for the under-21s – and Cole Palmer’s debut strike eased the Young Lions to victory in their opening Group G game.
Carsley’s side go to Slovenia and Andorra in October and Aarons – part of the squad that crashed out of the group at Euro 2021 in March – knows they need to be patient.
The 21-year-old said: “With a new group it always takes time. I definitely found when I came into it two years ago that it takes time for the group to gel and bed in.
“In the first half there was some brilliant things and some good passages of play and I thought we were defensively solid as well.
“In the second half we were still good but there were a few times when we were a little bit sloppy and you could see that. You could see the team is still gelling.
“For that to be our first game, to come away with a 2-0 win is really good and something to build on.
“The more games we play together, the more we learn about each other’s different styles of play.
“We’re a young group and we’ll keep building on it. You could see a lot of good stuff.”