Vieira: English fighting spirit will live on forever

The former Arsenal captain lauded the Three Lions' attitude ahead of their clash with France on Monday, adding that they had improved tactically under Fabio Capello
Patrick Vieira expressed his admiration for English footballers, adding that he sees Chelsea's defensive displays in the Champions' League this season as a sign of things to come for English football.

The Arsenal skipper's nation, France, face the Three Lions on Monday, and the 35-year-old admitted that he was full of admiration for the professional attitude of the former Roy Hodgson's squad.

"The English fighting spirit shall live on forever," Vieira began. "England can have a bad day, miss easy things, but they will always give 100 percent. It's in their culture. At training they never complain, if you ask for them to run around the pitch 40 times they won't stop at 39.

"They never give up, and this is basically what we saw with Manchester City, who were eight points behind United but carried on believing to win the title. Most players are foreign but the English spirit remains the same."

Vieira also issued his belief the defensive tactics set-up by Roberto Di Matteo during Chelsea's Champions League campaign this season could become the norm for both English clubs challenging for European silverware and the national football team.

"In the past few years, England improved a lot tactically under [Fabio] Capello. Now they are capable of admitting an opponent's technical superiority and sit back.

"They know the French are better than them when they have possession. But it is not a problem any more for them to leave the ball to their opponents."

England and France also met in their opening game during Euro 2004 when Zinedine Zidane's late double enabled Raymond Domenech's men to steal a 2-1 win.

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