New England kit: It'll be all white on the knight

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Sometimes, a new approach pays dividends. It's perhaps too early to tell, but the new-model England seems to employ an attractive simplicity which belies several clever subtleties upon closer inspection.

No, we don't mean the team's new attitude under Fabio Capello - suits, no mobiles, surnames only, that sort of thing. Well, not on this occasion. No, it's all about the new kit.

Call us bitter old hacks, but frankly we've been through the new-shirt kerfuffle before. Clubs fall over themselves to big up the new third kit's ThermaWaffle with MultiPlex Inline Fantabulousness.

New look England 

As for England, the kits haven't changed massively in the last 20 years. Apart from Euro 96's flirtation with a pale blue trim, the only question has been where to put the blue bit and where to chuck the red splodge.

But the new kit - modelled for the first time in the friendly against Slovakia - seems... well, different. It's a bit of a throwback, not in a shoelace-necked Let's Be Victorian way, but to an age of bespoke Savile Row tailoring when an Englishman was measured by the cut of his cloth.

It's a surprise to learn that, beside the match-detail embroidery round the badge, previous England kits have been as off-the-peg for Joe Cole as they have for Joe Public. Now each England shirt is made to measure before the game, as befits millionaires who represent their country around the world.

"Virginal white? Suits you, sir" 

It's got a pleasing texture, too. Previous kits have worn their moisture-control credentials on their sleeve - literally - but this one simply feels... nicer. Sorry we can't put it better than that, but we're not designers.

Which may be why we wouldn't have thought of changing to the polo shirt style. There's a feeling among many, inside and outside the game, that wearing a replica top marks you down into an underclass. This shirt's got a bit more panache about it.

There's a pleasing understatedness about it, encapsulated by the "tonal" (they mean white-on-white) star above the crest. Yes, England won the World Cup, it says respectfully. But it's a while ago. Let's quietly get down to business.

JT spots Rio 'avin a larf 

Opinions will be divided over the white shorts - adopted as standard by England for the first time. A team wearing all white looks more confident, according to psychological studies, but in truth the main study was of a picture from that glorious past.

The designers were transfixed by an image of Bobby Moore at the 1966 World Cup – not in red holding the trophy aloft, but striding out in all white for the quarter-final clash with Argentina.

All white for England against Argentina  

The late great Moore's class, elegance and - above all - confidence inspired the designers to try something a little different but with great respect for history. A bit like England as a country, really.

The new England kit is analysed in detail in a free magazine given away with the new issue of FourFourTwo - available Monday 30 March.  

---------------------------------------------- More to read...
England kits past and present: gallery

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