By Ben Rumsby

The English national football team have turned to world champions Germany and the All Blacks in a bid to finally halt their dismal record at major tournaments.

As part of a memorandum of understanding signed by the Football Association and German FA (DFB) in March, discussions have taken place about how England's arch-rivals prepare for World Cups and European Championships and their set-up while they are playing at them.

Manager Gareth Southgate and his coaching team have also been working with a well-known advisor to the All Blacks, who are widely regarded as the best team in world sport and who famously have a 'No D***heads' policy when it comes to the attitude of their players.


Great Britain's record-breaking Olympic team have been looked at as well, as part of a concerted effort by Southgate to learn about how other sports develop a winning culture.

The 46-year-old is determined to leave no stone unturned in his efforts to do the same with England, whose humiliating Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland was the latest in a long line of flops at major tournaments dating back a decade.

Since Southgate took charge, every player called into the squad has been asked to watch a seven-minute film about what it takes to win, which begins with footage of his own penalty-shootout miss in England's Euro 96 defeat against Germany.

The FA's MOU with the DFB, meanwhile, commenced on the day the countries met in a friendly in Dortmund, before which Southgate called for English football to emulate the German model of success.

Since then, the DFB has been consulted about its approach to World Cup and Euros, including the Germany teams' relationship with the public and Press.

The FA had already been trying foster a more open environment after Euro 2016, at which goalkeeper Joe Hart infamously refused to discuss the squad's team darts matches, and no-one was seemingly prepared to reveal why different players had been seen carrying a stuffed toy.

As well as the DFB, the FA has enlisted the help of Owen Eastwood, a London-based lawyer from New Zealand who assists organisations with their team culture and was credited with helping inspire the All Blacks' most recent win over England in 2014.

Southgate cited the Rugby World Cup holders back in December when discussing the culture he wanted to instil among his own players.

"Look at top sports teams like the All Blacks, who are one of the best examples of teams that have won consistently over the years," he said.

"The players are involved in that, because you are giving them ownership and accountability."

Speaking in the wake of Wayne Rooney being caught engaging in a late-night drinking session between matches in November, Southgate added: "If our players want to be top, top players, which I believe they do, then they have got to recognise the things that are going to help us achieve that, and the things that are going to detract from that.

"The days are gone from when I was younger where we did have beers after a game - fish and chips and beer on the way home on the coach and probably fall off the bus.

"The rest of the world isn't doing that, so we are competing in a different landscape and have to be as prepared and professional as everybody else."