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Why Germany's World Cup Win Is an Important Lesson for England

What Germany have done so well in promoting and developing talent from their youth teams in recent years is conspicuously absent from the English setup... In England, the mentality when it comes to age restricted international tournaments is completely wrong.

Germany's World Cup win in Brazil was the country's fourth overall, but the first since re-unification of the national team in December 1990 and a first major tournament win of any kind since 1996.

During those 18 barren years, Germany had still usually performed well on the international stage, perhaps most notably reaching the 2002 World Cup final. But there were also several causes for alarm over the state of the national team, the best examples coming from group stage exits at both Euro 2000 and Euro 2004, as well as a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of England in Munich in 2001.

But rather than resting on the laurels that they were still good some of the time, German football did something about it, making sure that they would be a real contender everytime.

The 10-year process culminated in Die Mannschaft becoming world champions and it is an example that England, who are now at rock bottom after their extremely disappointing display in Brazil, could learn a lot from.

The key to Germany's current success was born out of an overhaul of the national team system that started under the management of Jurgen Klinsmann and was carried on when his assistant, Joachim Low, took over the reins. The duo wanted to give Germany an identity, playing attacking football with speed from the back to the front and utilising great dynamism.

Klinsmann explained to the BBC in 2010 that an important step was working in conjunction with Bundesliga managers to "build something together" for the good of German football as a whole. They held workshops and seminars with players and coaches all over the country and created a 10-12 point programme which has since become the curriculum and standard to which German football adheres to.

He recommended it as something that the England manager should similarly do with Premier League clubs, players and coaches in order to create an 'English Identity'.

Following the former striker's accession to German national team boss in 2004, the changes and progress began to come to fruition at the country's home World Cup in 2006 and at Euro 2008. The squad was then fundamentally replenished with a new generation coming through from the junior national teams, the first set of players to truly develop in this new 'German way'.

It is a critical stage of the process and former England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce believes that what Germany have done so well in promoting and developing talent from their youth teams in recent years is conspicuously absent from the English setup.

Pearce spoke to talkSPORT radio following England's World Cup defeat against Uruguay in June and cited Germany's 2009 Under-21 European champions as a key point in the country's fortunes. Of that squad, Mats Hummels, Benedikt Howedes, Mesut Ozil, Jerome Boateng and Manuel Neuer all started the final in Brazil, while Sami Khedira was also due to play until a late injury ruled him out.

Those players picked up valuable experience, something which you cannot replicate and it has served them extremely well ever since. The bonding that comes from these early tournaments is carried on to the senior team and is also a vital component of long term sustainable success.

Comparing the development of that German side to his own, Pearce lamented the fact that no English players made the equivalent step up. "I looked at our squad [for the 2009 European Championships] and out of that squad there were no players in our starting line-up that five years ago made the same journey" he said.

In England, the mentality when it comes to age restricted international tournaments is completely wrong. Unlike other countries, the best eligible players never seem to be available when it comes to Under-21 football. Eligible players are usually too willing to miss the tournament in favour of pre-season with their respective clubs or pull out to due to minor injuries that would probably be manageable under normal circumstances.

Being the last step before full international football, Under-21 competitions offer priceless opportunities to gain experience, but countless young English players have been missing out. Talented players like Jack Wilshere, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also too readily included in the senior squad and it is harming their development as well as England's long term future. These talented young players should all be turning out for the Under-21 team together, instead it is left to individuals who have no chance of ever representing their country at senior level.

If England are to be a successful international team in the long term future, they need a clear identity and there must be groups of young players, schooled in that way, rising through the ranks together.

Germany have laid out a now proven method for brewing international success. England would be foolish not to follow it.

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