Fabio Capello has distilled England's World Cup success story down to three key factors: "fast lads", "a great manager" and having "a goalkeeper who saves".

The Italian was at the helm for the disastrous tournament in South Africa, where the English finished behind the USA in their group before being outclassed by Germany in the last 16.

He remains one of the most respected managers of his generation however, and had words of praise for Gareth Southgate and the class of 2018.

"They have fast lads and a great manager," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Southgate understood that he’d go home with two central defenders, so he put three. He’s finally found a goalkeeper who saves: [Jordan] Pickford has reactions and positional sense."

Rio Ferdinand has since been scathing of Capello's managerial style - "we had expected ideas and creativity, instead Capello's attitude was, 'I'm the boss and you'll do what I say all day, every day'" - and several players have admitted the atmosphere in the England camp for 2010 was strained.

Southgate seems to have hit a happy medium between keeping his troops focused and relaxed, but Capello believes he's also got things spot on tactically.

"He [Southgate] is helped by a context like the Premier League in which clubs launch youngsters without being conditioned.

"The talent was there, but his intuition was [Harry] Maguire in a three-man defence, the choice of Pickford and managing tension."

His prediction for the final?

"France-England. And in that case I see England as favourites."