England 'used to play rugby' – Podolski

Lukas Podolski

England used to be “like a rugby” team but have a brighter future because they “play more football now”, says former Germany forward Lukas Podolski.

Podolski, 31, retired from international duty after his stunning strike helped Germany beat England 1-0 in Wednesday’s friendly in Dortmund.

Under boss Gareth Southgate, England used a three-man defence for the first time since a loss to Croatia in 2006.

“They have a good team, a good manager,” said Podolski.

“Before it was a like a rugby style, now they have good guys, good characters – they were physical but they play more football now.

“When they go to a tournament they are always nervous, they always play too much under pressure [but] I will be watching England at the [2018] World Cup.”

A 3-4-2-1 formation also saw Dele Alli impress in a more attacking role along with Adam Lallana, who said the 20-year-old Tottenham midfielder could be a “special” player for England in future.

“I love the way he goes about his business – no fear, he’s brave,” said Liverpool midfielder Lallana. “He is unique and a special talent.

“But people still need to be patient with him. He is still a young boy and performing how he does is way above his years – it’s important we don’t get carried away.”

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‘Rooney gets a farewell game if I’m England boss’

Wayne Rooney<!–

Galatasaray striker Podolski was given a presentation, delivered a speech and received a standing ovation after being substituted on his 130th and final appearance for Germany.

“It’s like a movie. Of course, it was the perfect end,” said the former Arsenal player.

Podolski believes England captain Wayne Rooney deserves a similar send-off for his last international match.

Rooney, who is England’s all-time record scorer with 53 goals in 119 caps, has previously stated his intention is to retire after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The 31-year-old Manchester United striker was left out of Southgate’s squad for Wednesday’s friendly and Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania as he recovers from a leg injury, coupled with a lack of recent playing time for his club.

“I don’t know if it’s traditional in England to give someone a farewell game, but when I am England boss or the president I will say: ‘Wayne, next week you’ve got a game,'” said Podolski.

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