Gareth Southgate declared on the eve of his first game as permanent England manager that the national football team must learn from the German mentality and also abandon a blinkered island outlook, if they are to achieve the ultimate target of winning the World Cup, which he has set them.
The 46-year-old, who revealed that he is already implementing ideas from Eddie Jones’ record-winning rugby union team in his attempt to broaden thinking, said that the squad need the same mindset as Joachim Low’s players. “I think we can learn from their mentality,” he said. “When we’ve played German teams, they just have that belief in the way they play.”
He also warned against the narrowness of thinking which an island mentality can bring. “Look at Spain,” said Southgate, echoing comments he made at the weekend. “We’re an island, we’ve got to get off the island and learn from elsewhere. We need to look in the mirror and change the way we do things tactically, physical preparation, our style of play and mentality.
“We’ve had success in every other sport in our country. We’re probably the missing piece. We have some great strengths if we couple those with some other traits we could be more powerful than anybody but we have a lot of work to get to that point.”
The new permanent manager is without Manchester United’s Phil Jones – who was injured by a training ground collision with his club teammate Chris Smalling – and Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling as England seek their fourth consecutive win on German soil.
Confirming that he had told the players on Monday that the World Cup “has to be the ultimate aim because then that drives your behaviour,” Southgate said that Germany had a vital advantage over England in the that the Bundesliga supported the dFB German football association.
“We’ve probably got some work to do in terms of the connection between the dFB and Bundesliga is immensely strong and the opportunity for the young German players to play in the League, there is a real buy-in on that – partly because of the ownership model of the clubs.
“I guess to highlight the difference, they postponed the start of the Bundesliga because they got a team in the Olympics. We can’t even get a team in the Olympics. So that’s the collaboration they have.”
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