Tammy Abraham believes Aston Villa’s must-win promotion push was the perfect preparation for Euro 2019.
The striker helped Villa to a dramatic return to the Premier League last season after their stunning late form catapulted them into the Championship play-offs.
Villa won a club record 10 straight games between March and April to gatecrash the play-offs before beating Derby 2-1 in the final to return to the top flight after three years.
Abraham, who scored 26 times while on loan from Chelsea, is now in Italy ready for Euro 2019 with England Under-21s but is already tuned into a winning mentality.
He said: “Absolutely. In the second half of the season we knew we had to win almost every game to have a chance so we went out to every training session up for it.
“There were times I nearly gave up but Jack Grealish would be in my ear telling me to keep going.
“When he was injured he used to phone me telling me to keep it going for him until he got back because he believed he had a chance.
“In January all the Wolves stuff (transfer talk) came out and it was something I looked at but I am so pleased I stuck with my gut instinct.
“Our attitude near the end was ‘If we all turn up nobody else can beat us.’ That is the mentality we need to show out here.
“We need to impose that fear factor on others, make them frightened of us and leave everything on the pitch.”
The 21-year-old also feels he has proved himself again after a disappointing spell at Swansea in 2017/18 when they were relegated from the Premier League.
“Obviously I want to be in the Premier League but things happen in football and after getting relegated with Swansea I had to pick myself up,” he said.
“People were asking if I could do it again in the Championship and I have answered them. I believe in myself, I provided goals and rebuilt my confidence as well.
England face France in their Group C opener in Cesena on Tuesday aiming to go a step further than two years ago.
Abraham was part of the squad in Poland and missed from the spot in the 4-3 semi-final shootout defeat to Germany.
But he will step up again if required even though the miss still plays on his mind.
He said: “Yes, it still hurts but I’ll take it because that’s what makes you who are and gives you the experience you need to move forward. I now know what to expect.
“For me as a striker I will always put myself in that position. I back myself to score every time even though I know realistically I will not score every time.
“It was the first time I had taken a penalty in an international competition and it was a nerve-racking moment.
“But if the situation comes around again I’ll be putting my name up to be one of the five takers.
“I’ve now got that experience and since then I have taken some big penalties for Aston Villa. So I know what the pressure of taking a penalty is like.”
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