Drei Löwen auf dem Hemd? It's all kicking off about the new England shirt unveiled by Jack Wilshere
The strip will be used for the first time in the friendly against Republic of Ireland
If you can’t beat them, join them. That was one more cutting conclusions after England unveiled their new international shirt, with comparisons being made to that worn by the West German team in 1966.
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It was of stark contrast to the rousing patriotism earlier in the day which saw Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere unveil the image of the shirt – the first to be designed under England's new deal with Nike – after returning to watch a training session at his old school, The Priory, in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. From there Wilshere tweeted: “Like this kid, my England dream began here, so he was first in #theshirt - England's new kit from NikeFootball.”
But within minutes of the picture being tweeted, many Twitter users remarked that the new shirt bore a striking resemblance to the one worn by West Germany in the final of 1966. Even Gary Lineker joined the chorus adding: “Smart move by @FA and @nikefootball to go slightly German with the strip. If you can't beat 'em.......”
The new uniform breaks with tradition and has a retro look to it: featuring a black border, a gold star and a ribbon inscribed with '150 years' beneath it to celebrate the FA’s anniversary. It is the first design from US company Nike who has replaced Umbro as the official kit supplier after 60 years. It marks a significant end to the quintessential British sports brand, created 88 years ago in the back room of a pub in Wilmslow in Cheshire, who last year was instructed to step aside to make room for its all-conquering American parent company.
The reveal of the new kit even prompted some US observers to suggest that the kit bore similarities to the current US football team.
Nike agreed a six-year shirts deal with the FA last year - bringing to an end Umbro’s 60-year association with the national side. As part of the deal, it will also supply match balls to England teams at all levels and sponsor St George's Park in a deal that runs until 2018.
Created by the Humphrey brothers, Harold and Wallace, in 1924, Umbro has a remarkable history. Over the years it has made the kits of Brazil in their World Cup-winning year of 1962, Celtic in 1967, Liverpool in 1977, Manchester United in 1999 and, most famous of all, England in 1966. The brand is most closely associated with the England team, who began wearing Umbro kits in 1954, and have done so since then in all but 10 years from 1974 to 1984.
England will wear the new Nike kit for the first time against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday week before sporting it again when they play Brazil in a friendly at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro four days later.
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