Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley believes Spain’s blueprint of blending youth with experience is the way forward for England.
The Spaniards are aiming for their fourth consecutive major trophy in Brazil next year – with two European Championships and one World Cup so far – something no other nation has ever done.
And Cleverley believes emulating Vicente del Bosque’s approach of mixing experienced players and talented youngsters with an understanding at club level can pay off for Roy Hodgson in 2014.
“We can take massive confidence from what Spain have done,” he told reporters. “They’ve got a lot of players who have come through the ranks together as well, from Barcelona and Real Madrid.
“I think there were seven of us from United picked in the last England squad, so it does help, knowing the players inside out and training with them every day.
“That does help, and I’m sure that’s helped Spain in terms of what they’ve achieved.
“A lot of us younger players know each other from either our clubs or from England youth teams.
“Knowing each other, coming through the ranks together and having that bond would make it even more special if we could do something big.
“Add to that the experience of senior players like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick and you’ve got a great mix.”
Cleverley concedes emulating what Spain have done in recent times would be almost impossible, but said his country can take heart from where the Spaniards were a decade ago.
“It would be hard to do what Spain have done, but we can take confidence from the fact that, 10 years ago they hadn’t won anything and had under-achieved, but look at what they’ve done,” he said.
“I think we’re technically as good as the other countries, like Spain, and hopefully this will be the year that we prove that.”