Southgate believes England must emulate Chelsea's Champions League heroics

Former Three Lions defender says the national side can take heart from the Blues' underdog displays, while he concedes the FA must begin to nurture young talents for the future

Former England international Gareth Southgate believes Roy Hodgson’s men must emulate Chelsea’s steadfast Champions League displays if they are to triumph at Euro 2012.

The Three Lions fly out to the tourament on Wednesday ahead of their opening game of the European Championships against France on Monday, before facing Sweden and Ukraine.

And, while Southgate concedes England are unlikely to dominate possession in most games, the former Middlesbrough manager believes Hodgson’s charges must take heart from Chelsea’s successful defensive approach in the Champions League last season.

"I imagine the team will be built around being solid, difficult to beat in the first game, because I don't think we are in a situation where at the moment as a country we can go out there and outplay too many teams," Southgate told reporters.

"We rarely out-possess other countries, so we've got to think logically about how we set up and the best way to get results that's not negative.

"How did we beat Spain? How did Chelsea get through against Barcelona [in the Champions League semi-finals]? In certain games you have to accept the opposition might get more of the ball so that tends to dictate what you do with your selection."

Hodgson has echoed Southgate’s sentiments regarding the national side’s need for cohesion in the team, yet insists the squad cannot rely solely on defensive discipline.

"If you don't defend well when the opposition have got the ball and you concede goals, that loses you games," Hodgson told the BBC.

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"And if you don't do anything with the ball or attack and you can't score then you don't win anyway."

Despite the inclusion of young talents such as Danny Welbeck and Phil Jones, England’s squad is a relatively ageing one. Eight of the 23-man squad will be 30 or older by the time the Premier League kicks off again in August and Southgate believes the Football Association must look to nurture young talents if the national team are to remain a force to be reckoned with.

He added: "I look outside the squad and the standby list and there aren't too many players that come into your thinking as being of international quality.

“The pool of players to pick from is the biggest thing... We have to look at developing young players and changing how we do that.”