Patrick Vieira has given England a ringing endorsement ahead of their Euro 2012 opener, claiming their fighting spirit is second to none.
The former Arsenal skipper’s nation France face England on Monday, and the 35-year-old admitted he was full of admiration for the professional attitude of Roy Hodgson’s squad.
“The English fighting spirit shall live on forever,” Vieira told Journal de Dimanche.
“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.
When asked if Chelsea’s displays were a sign of things to come from England, he said: “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 anymore 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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