Xavi Hernandez has noticed something different about the current England team.
Gone are the days, reckons the Barcelona legend, where England was complete with physical players. The Three Lions now possess some technically-gifted players, as evidenced in the 3-2 friendly win over Germany.
And Xavi reckons it’s a direct result of the influx of foreign coaches.
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Currently, five Premier League bosses are British. Eric Black is Scottish but he is only in charge of Aston Villa on a temporary basis.
The rest are from overseas, and, according to Xavi, are responsible for encouraging the technical side of the game.
The quality of football seen in European countries such as Spain and Germany - and the top Portuguese and French clubs - is at a higher standard to the one seen in the Premier League. The proof of that can be seen in the recent records of English clubs in the Champions League and Europa League.
Xavi: Foreign coaches have helped
Xavi, who won four Champions Leagues with Barcelona, thinks England’s young crop of talent is a result of the growing multiculturalism of Premier League managers.
He is quoted by The Sun as saying: “Foreign coaches going over there has undoubtedly helped, taking the typically English game – direct, long ball, second ball, typical number nine to bring down the ball, crosses into the box – and improved it.
“Mauricio Pochettino is doing a brilliant job at Tottenham with that model. Pep going to Manchester City will raise the league’s quality – he’s a game-changer. Jurgen Klopp is a phenomenon.”
Xavi won the World Cup and two European Championships with Spain and he has noticed an improvement in England’s style.
“The standard is much higher now,” the 36-year-old added. “In the past, there wasn’t as much natural talent – just [Wayne] Rooney, [Frank] Lampard, [Steven] Gerrard, and the rest were physical.
“Now you’ve got Raheem Sterling; the guy [Adam] Lallana, quality; Eric Dier, quality; [Dele] Alli, quality; [Jack] Wilshere, quality.
“Then you have natural goalscorers – [Jamie] Vardy, [Harry] Kane – plus Rooney and physical guys at the back.
“I think England could be an outside bet for the Euros.”
Roy Hodgson’s team will have to overcome Germany, Spain, France, and Italy in order to win the competition, but Xavi is right in saying England are dark horses.
The likes of Vardy, Kane and Alli are unknown identities in Europe and Joachim Low was certainly surprised at the level of talent when his Germany team threw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 last month.
Xavi went on to admit he plans to pursue a career in coaching, and the Premier League would certainly welcome him with open arms.