Germany's Joachim Low: England 'play a bit like we played in 2010'
BERLIN -- Joachim Low has said he views Friday's opponents England as similar to his Germany side in 2010 but confirmed he will use the match at Wembley as a chance to "experiment."
Germany, the 2014 World Cup winners, will play friendlies against England, France, Spain and Brazil before seeking to defend their title in Russia next summer and Low said they will be testing themselves against some of the best.
"Germany will always be among the favourites, and the rest of the world might say that we are the big favourites, but we need to look at what might happen," Low told reporters. "France, England, Brazil, who have completely changed from the side we met in the semifinal four years ago [when Germany won 7-1] ... There are teams who have incredible quality."
Gareth Southgate's England put in some less than convincing performances during their qualification campaign but Low highlighted their remarkable success at youth level this year and said he saw similarities with the Germany team he coached to a third-place finish at the 2010 World Cup.
"England have many young players," he said. "They have won all there is to win at youth level this year. They are well organised and one of the best sides switching from defence to attack.
"They pass balls directly into attack when winning them, and they've got a lot of pace there. They wait for mistakes.
"They press high, can sit deep and have great transition play. They do that at the highest level. They play a bit like we played in 2010."
Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira also praised England's development and said they will be a team to watch.
"English football has realised that you need to invest into the academies, and it's impressive," he said. "You can see it with the youth teams, but also in the Premier League, where young players get more playing time.
"It's a very positive development. You need to have them on your list not only for Russia but also in the coming years."
Khedira could face a battle to retain his place in Low's midfield next summer, with Ilkay Gundogan and Leon Goretzka among those looking to force their way in.
"I've been a part of this team for eight years, and I get asked the same question all over again," the 30-year-old said. "I am delighted to be alongside those competitors. They push me to be my best, and they are great lads, especially Ilkay. We have one huge goal -- to win the World Cup again -- and we need the best players for that."
Low confirmed he plans to examine his options against an England side that will be without a number of key players including Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling.
"We want to play a good game, and the result is an important criterion, but some things have to wait in line," Low said. "I want to experiment. It's a period of testing and is a test run for some players. I want to see some of those who don't usually play that much, especially against such opponents."
RB Leipzig left-back Marcel Halstenberg is set to win his first cap, with the 26-year-old to become the latest player to try to fill the problem position for the world champions.
With Cologne's Jonas Hector still absent through injury, Hertha Berlin's Marvin Plattenhardt failed to take his chance to make the left-back spot his, opening the door for Halstenberg.
"He will play," Low said. "He played well at Leipzig over a longer period, and also played in the Champions League."
Toni Kroos, meanwhile, could be rested on Friday with the Real Madrid star still recovering from flu.
"I won't take any risks," Low said. "And he played a lot of games in recent years."
Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is expected to start, with Bayern Munich and Germany captain Manuel Neuer still sidelined with a foot injury.
When asked whether he feared Neuer might miss out on the World Cup after a report in Bild claimed the keeper could be in need of crutches for another five weeks, Low said he remained optimistic.
"I last had contact with him two weeks ago, and from what I have heard from the medical staff, I am not losing sleep on it," he said. "I know what playing the World Cup means to him, and I know from the doctors that he can make it."
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.