Germany coach Joachim Low has tipped England to translate their success at youth level into a major international breakthrough.
England teams have virtually swept the board at age-group tournaments this year, winning the Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups and the Under-19 European Championship.
Low, whose side visit Wembley for a prestige friendly on Friday night, sees similarities with his current generation of players, who first flowered at the 2010 World Cup before lifting the trophy four years later in Brazil.
“England have many young players. They have won all there is to win at youth level this year,” said Low.
“They are well organised and one of the best sides switching from defence to attack. They pass balls directly into attack when winning them, and they’ve got a lot of pace there.
“They wait for mistakes. They press high, can sit deep and have great transition play. They do that at the highest level. They play a bit like we played in 2010.”
Midfielder Sami Khedira, who along with Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer formed the axis of that 2010 side, believes England will be among the contenders at next summer’s finals in Russia.
“English football has realised that you need to invest into the academies, and it’s impressive,” said Khedira. “It’s a very positive development. You need to have them on your list not only for Russia but also in the coming years.”
Low, who also name-checked England as one of the threats to their world crown, plans to name an experimental side at Wembley.
Goalkeeper Neuer and defender Jerome Boateng are injured while midfielder Toni Kroos is a doubt due to illness. RB Leipzig full-back Marcel Halstenberg, who has just begun only his second season of top-flight football, is due to make his debut.
“It’s still a trial period this year. With the tournament in mind I want to see not only those players who play regularly,” Low added.
“We want to play a good game, the result is always important, but I also know that I want to experiment. As we only have two international matches ahead of the World Cup we are looking particularly hard at the performances that players bring to their clubs.”