Gareth Southgate does not mind being given a selection headache by the emergence of fresh talent into the England squad.
Southgate's side host Croatia at Wembley on Sunday with a place in the inaugural Nations League Finals up for grabs, while the losing team will be relegated from League A.
Harry Maguire and Kieran Trippier both started the World Cup semi-final between the sides in July, the latter opening the scoring with a wonderful free-kick, but the defensive duo missed out on Southgate's squad through injury.
The England manager has a full complement of 25 players to choose from, though, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Winks and Jadon Sancho among the young players to make a case for selection with lively performances in Thursday's friendly warm-up win against United States.
"It's becoming increasingly difficult to pick a squad, a team, and that’s a good sign," Southgate told a news conference.
"Because there's a competition for places, young players have emerged since the summer and even with missing players like Trippier and Maguire, young players have come through and done well in those positions. The only way to drive performances is with competition for places.
"We have learned with every experience that we've had. We've added more depth to the squad in terms of young players and competition for places. We've had a slight change of system which has made us more flexible in the way we play.
"We're always improving and I think in those five matches that you've seen since the summer, we haven't sat on our laurels. We want to keep improving and I think the players have shown that mentality."
Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic is without one of his key players as Ivan Rakitic sustained a hamstring injury in their dramatic 3-2 home victory over pool leaders Spain on Thursday.
"He's a top player with brilliant experience, but they have very good replacements," Southgate said of the Barcelona star. "Their midfield is very strong and we have to play very well to create against them, playing without the ball with really good detail to limit what they can do.
"We've talked already about midfield options, they have strong attacking wingers, they have lots of strengths. We have to be prepared to defend really well as a team. But as with any team there are areas you want to exploit.
"We've some really good attacking players who are in form and looking forward to it. I'm really excited, I think it'll be a good game to watch. They have outstanding athletes, a resilient mentality, we know the pride they have, we've seen first-hand and we saw the other night against Spain, with the celebrations. But we are also proud.
"I think that both teams tactically are always well prepared and both teams have a brilliant opportunity to get to a semi-final. Both countries will be looking to win the game. You have to get every part of your game right. There are very good players on show and a full house, a very good game to be involved in.
"Obviously we've played twice in the last few months, know their style of play, preference and areas they build up, areas we think we can exploit. It's two evenly matched teams, both games after 90 minutes have been draws and both teams have had the upper hand in periods."
23. Januar 2019
|China v Iran: Queiroz wants to exorcise 2015 quarter-final|
|Balotelli joins Marseille until the end of the season|
|Emery gives Monchi ringing endorsement amid Arsenal sporting director links|
|Larry Fitzgerald returning to Cardinals on one-year deal|
|Watson absence ´an opportunity´ for Scotland hopefuls, says Townsend|
|Pochettino open to new signings but Janssen to remain a Spurs outcast|
|´No trace´ of aircraft so far in Sala search|
|Pochettino will not judge Sarri for criticising Chelsea players|
|From front row to four in a row - Best takes on Farrell at Connect 4|
|Hazard an individual, not a leader - Sarri urges Chelsea star to do more|
|Broad left out of England team for first Test|
|Higuain set to sign for Chelsea but won´t face Tottenham – Sarri|
|McGillvary injury blow for Giants|
|Solari praises Marcelo amid exit rumours|
|A-League Review: Joy and pain for De Jong as Sydney close gap|
|Halfpenny, Davies and Williams set to miss France clash|
|India to rest Kohli from back end of New Zealand tour|
|The hand is good - Farrell expects to be fit to face Ireland|
|Martinez leaves Arsenal for Reading loan|
|Beckham becomes Salford City shareholder|
|Maradona hopes Sala will be found alive|
|Djokovic will not discuss potential Nadal showdown yet|
|A Federer-Nadal double? Even historic scalps may not be enough for Tsitsipas|
|Raonic to assess knee injury, hopes to avoid surgery|
|Barcelona right to fine ´complicated´ Dembele, says Ter Stegen|
|Higuain and Piatek on the move on busy day for Milan|
|Philippe and Vince humble the Hurricanes|
|Nishikori: I couldn´t beat anybody on one leg|
|Boateng poised for debut as Barcelona axe Suarez|
|Shami sets record in crushing win after sun stops play|
|Sala search focused on possible use of life raft|
|Pouille exceeds own expectations with run to Aus Open semis|
|Nishikori retirement sees Djokovic through to semi-finals|
|A golden boy, a guy you want to love - Delecroix pays emotional tribute to Sala|
|Richardson, Patterson to make Australia debuts against Sri Lanka|
|Police resume search for missing Sala plane|
|Pouille upsets Raonic to reach Australian Open semis|
|Dunk sees Stars past Strikers|
|How Serena gave up 5-1 lead – the key moments of loss to Pliskova|
|Pliskova enjoys ´best comeback´ after stunning Serena|
|Serena not blaming ankle injury for Australian Open loss|
|Mavericks capitalise on Clippers´ turnovers, pick up win in Smith´s return|
|Pliskova saves four match points to stun Serena with comeback win|
|Anthony ´can only make´ a team better, says Iverson|
|Henry more worried about Monaco´s future than his own|
|Osaka powers past Svitolina in Melbourne|
|Harden on Anthony trade: It kind of sucks that it didn´t work out|
|Redskins remain ´optimistic´ QB Alex Smith will play again|
|Patriots coach Belichick says Rams´ Donald is ´pretty much unblockable´|
|PSG fined €100,000 by LFP over player-recruitment practices|
|I´m not his father - Guardiola demands Mendy matures|
|Sykes record in vain as Banvit claim victory|
22. Januar 2019
|Usain Bolt calls time on football career|
|Otamendi not happy at Man City, says Guardiola|
|Workaholic Woods learning to rest as he prepares for 2019 debut|
|Henry´s Monaco dumped out of Coupe de France|
|Qatar can win Asian Cup, says Sanchez|
|Tim Howard to retire following 2019 MLS season|
|Koscielny backs Bellerin to return from injury ´stronger than before´|
|Chiefs fire DC Bob Sutton after AFC Championship loss to Patriots|
|Reyes returns to Spain with second-tier strugglers Extremadura|
|Emiliano Sala: Profile of Cardiff City striker missing after joining from Nantes|
|Messi rested for Sevilla trip, Boateng set for debut|
|Nuno fined over pitch celebration in Leicester win|
|Nadal unfazed by another Next Gen opponent in Tsitsipas|
|Ulster hand lifetime ban to spectator after Zebo abuse|
|Phehlukwayo´s career-best day inspires Proteas against Pakistan|
|Bournemouth pounce for Brentford´s Mepham|
|You say all signings are controversial – Valverde defends Boateng arrival|
|Search for missing Sala plane suspended|