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“When they wake up in the morning we want them to say, ‘what does England need from me? What is the way in which my teammates expect me to work?’


“Now it is about how we develop that culture as we go along, but it is also fundamentally important that players understand it, we get a really good buy-in and that we live it day to day.”


The early signs have been encouraging. There has been vocal support from the dressing room, whilst on the field a credible draw in his first game against Norway was followed up by a strong showing in the prestigious Cyprus Cup, in which the Three Lions defeated Finland, Canada and Italy on their way to the final.


Despite losing to France in the tournament climax, the performances served to provide early validation to Sampson’s new approach.


As a result, Sampson is aware of the importance of the players buying into his ideas at a much deeper level than when they are just wearing an England shirt - they must accept being an international footballer as a way of thinking.


“Less contact time with the players has been a huge challenge and you can look at that in two ways. It can either be a big negative or you can try and flip it on its head and make it a positive - that is the process we are going through at the moment.


Sampson accepted the role with the Women’s national team knowing he would be stepping into the shoes of England’s longest serving manager and one of the most influential coaches in the history of the women’s game, Hope Powell.


While there have been significant changes he also recognised the need to embrace much of the work from the previous regime in order to build for the future.


“We would be incredibly naïve to throw everything out the window and completely start again. It is important we look at what has worked because there is some fantastic work that has gone on by Hope, her staff and her players in the past.


“We have got to look at that and make sure we are not just throwing it out of the window. We must ensure we are building on it and making it even better. The challenges we have are how we can introduce our new concepts and our new ways of working to the players.”


Sampson admits that effective communication is crucial when working with a new group of players.


“How you communicate those messages at the early stage is incredibly important. First impressions are paramount really.


“It is important for myself and my staff that the messages we are giving the players are the right messages, we are clear in what we were saying and that we are consistent. You need to make sure that with certain principles you are very clear that this is the way we will move forward.”


The move from domestic club football to the international scene has meant a shift in the amount of contact time with the players.


“We are looking at how we get the players to understand that even though they have got their club shirt on, they still have an England mind-set in terms of how they conduct themselves, how they behave and how they train and play.


“We are trying to look at how we can open the communication channels with the players on a more regular basis [so] we engage them with our philosophy and get them understanding that, even though they have got their club shirt on or training kit on, they still have an England mind-set in terms of how they conduct themselves, how they behave and how they train and play.


“We are determined now to set a culture and an environment in which we do stick to the principles that we really believe in.”


This focus on culture similarly guides his thoughts on how to prepare for tournament football. With the Women’s World Cup in Canada just over a year away, focus is clearly on qualification and building on the “real sense of optimism within the group about the journey we have set out on."


When asked about his preparation Sampson stresses the need to view tournaments as further opportunity to build upon culture rather than diverting from a plan and succumbing to the pressures that surround tournaments by opting for game specific preparation.


Success, he explains, will come from faith in culture. “From my point of view, any team that goes into a game and completely changes the way they have been working for a one off game is on a road to failure.


“The important thing is to have a strong culture, a strong identity that every time you are together you are building on. I hope that when we get round to playing in a major championship a lot of those principles are ingrained and it will be about developing that.


“We want to give ourselves the best possible chance of being competitive and so we have to make sure our culture is strong, we are consistent with the messages we are giving and, at every single camp, we are building on what has gone on in the past so that we can get closer to where we want to get to."


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