Gareth Southgate believes England are a better side than they were when they faced Sunday’s Nations League opponents Croatia at this summer’s World Cup.
The two meet at Wembley, four months on from Croatia’s semi-final win in Russia, in a game that will settle both promotion and relegation from Group A4.
The winner will top the group and seal a place in the last four, with the loser dropping to the second tier.
“We’ve learned with every experience that we’ve had,” said Southgate.
“We’ve added more depth to the squad in terms of some more young players emerging, more competition for places.
“We’ve had a slight change of system which has also added something different, so we’ve got some flexibility in how we can play.
“So we’re always improving and I think in those five matches that you’ve seen since the summer what we haven’t done is sat on our laurels and said ‘OK, we’re happy with what we did at the World Cup – that’s it for the year, we’ll look forward to the European Championship’.
“We’ve wanted to keep improving and I think the players have shown that mentality as well.”