Key players within the Football Association's youth department believe the development model to follow is not Spain, where climatic conditions are so different, but Germany, whose physical characteristics, playing style and cultural attitudes are similar to England.
There was ample evidence to support this view in Hamburg on Tuesday when Germany swept aside a Dutch team ranked second in the world with a performance of pace and brio. The 3-0 defeat was the heaviest of Bert van Marwijk's 44 matches in charge of the World Cup finalists.
The Dutch coach said: "That was an embarrassing defeat for us. Germany are unbelievably strong at recovering the ball. They could do it before, but now they can play football, too."
Germany controlled the match throughout with attacking trident Thomas Müller, Miroslav Klose and Mesut Özil all scoring. The Netherlands were without Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Rafael van der Vaart, but Germany were missing Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm.
The teams were otherwise at full strength and the Dutch defence had no answer to a fluid German attack which broke quickly, often on the flanks, and was rapidly supported from midfield.
The Germany coach, Joachim Löw, said: "I have got to pay my team a huge compliment. At times, the Dutch were overwhelmed. We can be very happy, not only with this game, but with the entire year."
Germany were semi-finalists at the World Cups of 2006 and 2010, and finalists at Euro 2008. Löw said: "Two or three years ago we couldn't always win the big matches. Now we've achieved that." Klose added: "We can win the European Championships next summer without any doubt."
The really frightening aspect for opponents is Germany's youth and depth. Mario Gomez, Bundesliga top scorer with 13 goals this season, did not even get on the pitch while talented Dortmund youngsters Mario Götze, 19, and Mats Hummel, 22, appeared only as substitutes. Of the starting line-up only Klose (33), Arsenal's Per Mertesacker (27) and Lukas Podolski (26) were aged over 25.
"They've got so much potential, so many good players," said Van Marwijk. "If you look over at their bench, they have so many creative players sitting there."Reuse content