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Gareth Southgate: 'Past decisions bearing fruit for new generation'

Southgate: 'Past decisions bearing fruit'
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England manager Gareth Southgate believes that past changes to the national team's programme have helped to prepare the next generation of players for big games.

England manager Gareth Southgate has suggested that past changes to the national team's programme have helped to prepare the next generation of players for big games.

Paul Simpson's Under-20s side made history on Sunday by becoming the first England team since 1966 to win the World Cup, beating Venezuela 1-0 in the final courtesy of Dominic Calvert-Lewin's first-half goal.

Southgate believes that one of the reasons behind their success is their greater experience of playing against the best teams in the world, which he admitted is something he did not have during the early years of his playing career.

"We've been watching youth teams at every level. We made big decisions to improve our programme a few years ago. At the time it was a bit controversial. We needed to go to play the likes of Brazil, Mexico and Argentina," he told reporters.

"This group that won went to Mexico last summer and played Mexico at this tournament. We've exposed them to a good quality games programme. When I was a senior and played Brazil it was my first experience playing against them. Our younger guys have that experience now."

England's senior side will take on France in a friendly at the Stade de France on Tuesday night.

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Stockport County manager Paul Simpson looks on during the npower League Two match between Northampton Town and Stockport County at Sixfields Stadium on December 4, 2010
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