England and Umbro looking back to the future

England away kit launchThe new England away shirt will be unveiled at Wembley tonight as Fabio Capello's players go back to the future in their quest for World Cup glory.

The new shirt, which will be worn in the friendly against Egypt, sees Umbro continue the tailored, retro-looking theme set by the iconic new home kit released last year.

With its round-neck collar and white cuffs, the striking red shirt evokes images of Bobby Moore, Nobby Stiles, 1966 and all that but, whilst it may look like a throwback, Umbro's approach to the shirt - in its design, its tailoring and even its unveiling - has been anything but traditional.

In a break from the norm, the England players have been involved in the development process, helping the shirt's designer, Aitor Throup, with his concept of tailoring a shirt around player movement specific to the game of football.

With this in mind, the shirt is made up of three distinct panels consisting of different fabrics, each one aimed at giving players the best possible advantage as far as movement, comfort and ventilation are concerned.

All this while still reflecting Capello’s vision for a smart England team - "look smart, play smart" could be the Italian's mantra (and if it's not, it should be!) - which led to a happy bunch of players when they got to try the shirt on for the first time recently.

And now for something completely different...

So the shirt will be given its first unveiling on home soil this evening, but it's not the first time it has been seen in public.

Kasabian unveil the England away shirt in ParisIn rather fitting fashion (excuse the pun), the new away shirt made its debut on foreign soil last month as Kasabian became the first ever band to launch an England shirt.

As frontman Tom Meighan took to the stage at the Paris Olympia to perform the huge hit "Fire" wearing the three lions, he was greeted with a mixed but loud chorus of Parisian cheers and boos.

But it certainly got a reaction, which must please the Umbro team who are doing things a little differently and challenging convention in design and promotion alike.

The England team can at least expect a truly warm welcome this evening and they'll hope to give the shirt a winning debut in the final game before Capello announces his provisional World Cup squad.

Each of the players will be giving their all to get a shirt in Capello's final squad and give themselves a chance of emulating the class of '66.

The England away kit is on sale now. To find out more visit umbro.com.

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Tell us what you think!

What do you think of the new England away shirt?  Does it do it for you?  And what do you think of Umbro's slightly off-beat approach to the launch of the new shirt?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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