Young relishing forward role
Ashley Young has vowed to "thrive on the pressure" of filling the void left by Wayne Rooney during England's European Championship campaign.
Young is set to start Monday's Group D opener against France in Rooney's usual position just off the central striker, with his Manchester United team-mate serving a two-match ban.
Rooney has long been regarded as England's talisman but Young is fast assuming a similar mantle having scored five goals in his last seven internationals and having a hand in more than half of England's last 20 goals.
"I am feeling confident on the back of a few goals and assists," Young said.
"There has been a lot talked about what I have to do in that role just off the striker.
"A lot of emphasis has been put on me. I thrive on the pressure. I enjoy it.
"It is an opportunity to run at defenders. That is what I am there to do. There is no better feeling when I do that."
That is exactly what Rooney did at Euro 2004 eight years ago, with Young hoping to do the same at what is also his first major tournament.
Asked if his suspended team-mate had given him any advice, the 26-year-old added: "We all talk to each other. If you have something to say, whether you are a youngster or a senior, you say it."
Young has started both new manager Roy Hodgson's two games in charge, back-to-back 1-0 warm-up wins over Norway and Belgium.
"I scored against Norway and set up one against Belgium.
"Fingers crossed, if I am selected on Monday I will do that again," he added.
Young was even dreaming of emulating Paul Gascoigne's famous Euro 96 goal against Scotland.
"For me to be able to talk about it non-stop is fantastic," he said.
"Hopefully, in years to come, somebody will be saying that about me."
Young could not wait for England's Euro 2012 campaign to begin, admitting watching Friday's tournament openers between Poland and Greece, and Russia and Czech Republic, had left Hodgson's men buzzing about their own game against France.
England are being made to wait before joining the action in Poland and Ukraine, which they will do in Donetsk on Monday afternoon.
Confirming he and his team-mates saw Friday's games on television, Young said: "There was an exciting buzz. I have got that adrenalin running through my body.
"I am looking forward to the first game. I have done since I was named in the squad."
He added of the Hodgson regime: "The organisation has been different to previous games. That has helped.
"The two 1-0 wins were good wins, especially the way we kept our shape. We will try to do the same on Monday.
"It is always important to get off to a winning start.
"As long as we go out with the manner we have shown in the last two games, I am confident we will get the win."
Since Euro 96, England have arrived at every tournament under huge pressure to succeed.
Not so this summer but Young said: "There is no point coming here not believing we can win it.
"The squad is full of confidence. We have three tough games but, if we apply ourselves properly, I am sure we will do very well."
Young revealed both James Milner (blisters) and Martin Kelly (virus) sat out training on Saturday, but was confident the whole squad would be "fully fit" by Monday.
Saturday also saw England welcome back Jermain Defoe, who returned home on Thursday following the death of his father.
But, once again, their preparations were overshadowed by the controversy over the omission of Rio Ferdinand, with Young's United team-mate quoted as saying he feared his international career was over.
Young was confident the 33-year-old still had an England future.
"Of course. He has said he is not going to retire. He is a fantastic player,"