Paul Scholes hails Pep influence on England performance at WC

glandgland”I think he is definitely [an influence]. Especially with the way the back three and the way they’ve got the goalkeeper playing as well,” Scholes said during his stint as a pundit for beIN Sports.

“I don’t think Gareth has made any secret of that. I think he’s been to see Pep and he’s picked his brain and he wants to know how he produces that type of football.

“For an England fan and an ex-England player, we want to see the best kind of football. We do. Spain play the best football. Manchester City, last year, played the best football. Why not try to copy that kind of play?”

It’s been refreshing to see an England team being so brave on the ball, placing emphasis on building up from the goalkeeper and defenders, and ultimately seeing results.

Kyle Walker, John Stones and Raheem Sterling will have been key in getting those principles across to the rest of the squad, but Southgate himself believes Guardiola’s impact on English football is already evident from the ground up.

“The impact of seeing that Barcelona team five to seven years ago was enormous,” he is quoted as saying prior to the World Cup.

“He’s been an innovator. When I watch kids’ football now, when they can get on pitches that aren’t flooded or frozen, I see them playing out from the back.

“I don’t see (coaches) with heads in their hands saying ‘get it forward’. I think that’s an impact of his team, with the likes of Andres Iniesta and Xavi.

“That, coupled with us going to smaller-sized pitches and smaller games, all of that is helping football at the youngest possible age groups.”