England can compete with Modric, Rakitic – Barkley


England midfielder Ross Barkley has no doubt his team can compete with star Croatia duo Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

Gareth Southgate's men face Croatia in the Nations League in Rijeka on Friday, in a rematch of their World Cup semi-final.

It will see England again come up against Modric, FIFA's Best Men's Player, and team-mate Rakitic, two of the world's leading midfielders.

But Barkley, who is back in the England squad, said Southgate's side were capable of matching Croatia's star duo.

"It's a big challenge but just like any other player you come up against you've got to treat every player with the same respect. But it'll be a challenge," he said.

"You saw in the World Cup how fantastic he [Modric] was and Rakitic as well, he plays for a great side like Barcelona.

"But we've got the players to compete with the big nations, we've got our identity now.

"We went to the World Cup and got to the semi-finals and we're going in the right direction."

England and Croatia started their Nations League campaigns with losses to Spain.