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England on verge of 'something amazing', says France boss Deschamps

9:47 PM MYT 30/09/2018
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The World Cup-winning manager believes there is more to come from the Three Lions in the future

France's World Cup-winning coach Didier Deschamps thinks England are on the verge of achieving "something amazing" after becoming a real force in international youth football.

After failing to qualify for Euro 2008, an inquest into development took place in English football, with the Football Association (FA) looking to other nations such as Germany and Spain for inspiration.

It took time for obvious results to be made, with the senior side only really starting to see the benefit at this year's World Cup when they reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1990, but youth success in recent years suggests that even better results could be on the horizon.

England's Under-17s and Under-20s both won their respective world titles in 2017, while the Under-19s were victorious on the European stage.

Deschamps feels the number of foreign players in the Premier League can have a negative impact, making it more difficult for youngsters to break through, but he has no doubt about England's potential.

"The Premier League has a specific characteristic because they have economic resources nobody else has," Deschamps told the Guardian. "A lot of foreigners come over to play.

"In France a young talent who is 17 plays in Ligue 1. I've seen that in England it is more complicated. It takes longer.

"So, it takes longer to get to international standard, but it seems there are a young generation of players who have particular quality, winning international titles at youth levels.

"They have the potential to improve and do something amazing."

One element that attracted significant coverage during France's World Cup campaign was the team's diversity, with 15 members of the 23-man squad being of African descent.

Some used this as a basis of criticism, with former Croatia coach Igor Stimac suggesting the final saw his country come up against the "African continent", but for Deschamps, promoting diversity and integration is an important responsibility of football.

"I start from the principle that any player who is French or has become French is selection-worthy," Deschamps added.

"Some players have dual nationality and I am not going to take that away from them, they have freedom to choose, no problem.

"I give absolutely no consideration to a player's identity, their race, their religion. In fact, it is good for any team to have diversity in it, but they have to agree that what they are representing is France. And like England, like Germany, like many other countries, France is a multicultural society.

"It was an idea that took off in 1998, but it was also something that was taken on by politicians because football has such media presence. They made out it was the representation of an ideal France.

"We are represented by sportsmen of different colours, different cultures, different religions, different origins, but that's France.

"Quite apart from what they do on the pitch, it is a representation of our social reality. It's a good vehicle for integration.

"There is a set of basic values that come across which can be transmitted; respect for your team-mates, your opponents, the referee. This educational role is essential for young people."