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Germany's success could provide blueprint for struggling England

The heroes welcome. Photo: Reuters

Just a day after Germany's unique achievement in the Maracana as the first European team to conquer all before them in a South American world cup; as the squad boarded their plane ahead of today's homecoming to remember in Berlin, there was something else on the mind of Eintracht Frankfurt's head coach.

"We must make sure we don't go the way of Spain" Thomas Schaaf told me. He was half smiling but he meant it.

So in England while our desperate search for a solution to our national team's perpetual mediocrity has only just moved from the hand-wringing, navel-gazing stage to the departure lounge marked 'let's discuss some unworkable proposals', the Germans are already scheming about how to hang on to their newly attained world beating status.

They are many years ahead of England and in football "many years" is actually light years.

Given what happened to Roy Hodgson and his squad in Brazil, it's no small irony that it was Kevin Keegan's England who inadvertently helped Germany to their fourth World Cup star in Rio de Janeiro.

One of the catalysts, Euro 2000, and Alan Shearer's headed goal pushing Germany to the bottom of their group, where they remained and limped home much earlier than anticipated.

It was then, in a manner which contradicts the clich├ęd stereotype, they decided it was time to change their ways.

Two years later they reached the final of the World Cup in Yokohama, losing to Brazil but at the following Euros, they failed to get out of their group again.

By then, the new philosophy to invest in young German talent, had already taken hold.

In a way the Germans were lucky - their mission coincided with the collapse of the TV rights market caused when the giant Kirch media group crashed and burnt.

Suddenly the Bundesliga was not as wealthy and couldn't afford the big stars from overseas, even if it wanted them.

As a result, rather than working against each other, the German FA (DFB) and the top clubs shared similar ambitions.

The clubs wanted cheaper, home grown youngsters to fill their shirts, and those that ran the national side were desperate for German qualified players to get experience at the highest standard.

Germany learned hard lessons at Euro 2000, and changed how they grew their talent. Credit: Reuters

It was a timely symbiosis.

Having identified the problem the Germans were prepared to bankroll the solution and boy is it now paying dividends.

It is all the evidence you need that of the under-21 team which destroyed England in the Euros final in 2009, six ran out for Germany in Sunday's final.

They were Ozil, Neuer, Hummels, Howedes, Boateng and Khedira. All of them were under 13 when Germany began planning to overhaul its coaching programme.

By contrast the only Englishmen to play in that match who made it into Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad was James Milner.

And then don't forget Mario Goetze, the 22-year-old whose goal secured the trophy in Brazil, he is very much a product of Germany's relatively infant academy system.

The German model can't really be duplicated in England.

The most important obstacle to that is the power and wealth of the Premier League and the number of foreign owners at England's top clubs. In the Bundesliga, all teams are under German control.

However many academies are created within the elite structure, why would an owner from overseas spend money and time investing in English youngsters when he has the cash to go to the global market and snap up the finished article straight away?

Understandably his priority is his club, today, not the future fortunes of the England team.

So what is the answer?

Well you can forget a collapse in the value of TV rights to help out, thanks to the arrival of BT Sport and Al Jazeera, they are only going one way.

And, as discussed, you won't persuade major clubs to suddenly give game-time to English qualified players just because England managed only two World Cup matches before knowing they were on their way home.

Raheem Sterling is one the young English players that have managed to break through. Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

If you accept that player quotas are unworkable, then the solution lies mainly with the quality of coaching and a new talent production line spewing out players that England's big clubs can't ignore.

If a player is good enough, he will make it - just look at Sterling, Sturridge and Oxlade-Chamberlain. It's possible to break through but it needs to be easier.

It is not a swift journey, just ask the Germans. And they have more than 21,000 UEFA 'B' coaches compared to England's 9,000 odd. You can do the maths for yourself on that one.

The FA chairman Greg Dyke challenged England to target victory at Qatar 2022. That's in eight years and it took Germany much longer than that to sort themselves out.

For England to succeed first it has to matter; not just to the FA but to the clubs and players too. And then it all comes down to coaching. Coaching, coaching and coaching.

But remember while England's dysfunctional football family continues to argue about the best way forward, the Germans aren't waiting for anyone to catch up.

They're already planning on how to capitalise on their current success and it will come as no surprise to anyone if they find a way.