Lukas Podolski: England have stopped playing rugby under Gareth Southgate

Archie Rhind-Tutt
Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images

Lukas Podolski used to think England’s physical approach was akin to rugby but he says they play a more refined style under Gareth Southgate.

The former Arsenal forward was the man of the night on his 130th and final appearance for Germany; giving a pre-match speech to the crowd, having his name sung throughout and capping it all with the best goal of his international career.

England’s good overall display was inevitably lost in the Podolski mania, despite having been the better side for the most part here at the Signal Iduna Park. Still Podolski was prepared to salute Southgate’s side.

“They have a good team,” said the 31-year-old. “I think as well they have a good manager. They play a bit of a different style to before. Before, it was a little bit of a rugby style. Now they have a good team, good guys, good characters.

“I don’t know if [when] it comes to a tournament, they are always nervous. Maybe under too much pressure, but tonight you see they have a good style.”

When Podolski said “rugby style”, he explained it as finding England’s football in days gone by as just more physical. “They play more football now.”

Podolski knows English football well, having spent three years at Arsenal until joining Galatasaray.

His former manager, Arsene Wenger, has yet to decide whether he will stay at Arsenal next season, with the fanbase split over the issue.

Should Wenger leave, then Podolski believes the new manager will have a huge job in succeeding the man, who has led the club for 21 years.

Podolski said: “You can’t forget with Arsene that he built the club from nothing to now, [where] they have a lot. He gave the club a lot and [it] would always be interesting when he leaves, who will come into the club because the club is built like in Arsene Wenger style.”

Podolski marked his exit from the international stage with a 30-yard strike into the top corner.

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