Euro 2012: Henrik Larsson wary of 'disciplined' England

By Mandeep SangheraBBC Sport

England have started to play with their heads rather than just their hearts under manager Roy Hodgson, according to Sweden legend Henrik Larsson.

Hodgson's team meet Sweden in Group D on Friday after a disciplined display earned them a 1-1 draw against France.

"The England side I saw against France is one I haven't seen before," Larsson told BBC Sport.

"They were disciplined and patient - I have never seen it in the English team playing in a big championship."

Larsson, who scored 37 times in 106 appearances for Sweden, added: "I am impressed by England because normally they go forward and sometimes play more with the heart than the head.

"I think that's one of the reasons England have maybe not had the great results at the European Championships or World Cups over the years.

"If you look at the players they have, they are playing in one of the best leagues in the world, if not the best, so England have never been lacking in players.

"I think [former England manager Fabio] Capello started something off and Roy, as clever as he is, is building on that."

Sweden lost their opening match 2-1 against co-hosts Ukraine but have never been beaten by England in a competitive fixture.

But Larsson, now manager of Swedish club side Landskrona, warned: "If Sweden are going to get something from the game, they are going to have to be playing at their highest level, not only one or two players but all 11."

Hodgson was appointed England boss at the start of May and has since lost key players including Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry and Gary Cahill to injury, while Wayne Rooney completes his two-game suspension against the Swedes.

And Larsson believes the lack of expectation around Hodgson's side is working in their favour.

"Normally, when England goes into a championship, everybody - and I mean everybody - talks about them as being one of the favourites to win the whole thing.

"This time around, with all the problems that there have been on and off the pitch, nobody is really talking about that because nobody is really expecting anything from England.

"That's why I think they are more dangerous than [at] any time in the past."

England were criticised after the match against France for their lack of creativity, having managed just one effort on target, but Larsson praised the tactical nous demonstrated by Hodgson's side.

"The first game of the tournament you want to get something out it," he said. "If you don't, it's going to be very tough.

"If you give [France] too much space they will destroy you.

"That's what impressed me most [about England], with the back four and the midfield especially - the tightness between them was phenomenal."