Lahm backs youthful England to build on World Cup run

Reuters, Friday 7 Sep 2018

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - World Cup - Final - France v Croatia - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - July 15, 2018 Former Germany player Philipp Lahm during the presentation of the World Cup trophy before the match REUTERS

England's relatively inexperienced team showed cohesion and spirit at the World Cup and their semi-final run in Russia can lay the foundations for a period of sustained success, former Germany captain Philipp Lahm has said.

Lahm noticed similarities between Gareth Southgate's side and the Germany team that finished third in consecutive World Cups before they went on to lift the title in Brazil four years ago.

"What I saw on the pitch was a good, functioning team... I believed they had a good chance because they had a young and talented team," World Cup winner Lahm told reporters.

"Everyone was helping each other and this is what you need to be able to compete at the highest level. Good team spirit is what you need to be successful."

Southgate led the side to the World Cup semi-finals in July, where they were beaten 2-1 by losing finalists Croatia, and Lahm said England's players needed to learn from their shared experience and build on it as Germany had done.

"Looking at our team from 2006 to 2014, it helped writing history together... it was educational, everybody knew how a team mate would react in difficult times or under pressure. This knowledge helped us compete at the highest level," Lahm added.

England return to action with a Nations League game against Spain on Saturday. They then take on Switzerland at Leicester's King Power Stadium in a friendly on Tuesday.

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