Sports

England train as new FA centre opens

Roy Hodgson’s England team train today at the Football Association’s new state-of-the-art centre of excellence which is officially opened today at the St. George’s Park facility in Burton-on-Trent.

The new development has been welcomed by FA official as the official opening is performed by the Duke and Duchess Of Cambridge l

The site in Burton has taken shape over the last 18 months and the England senior squad train there today for the first time.

FA General Secretary Alex Horne said: “The facilities are excellent. It’s all here on site and it’s all first class, they can just come out from the hotel onto the training pitch and it’s an exact replica of Wembley.

“The Duke Of Cambridge is our President and he was really keen to come and see the Centre today and it’s a great day for us.”

Not only will the Park be a home for all 24 England teams with its state-of-the-art medical facilities on site, but it’s also an opportunity for coach education to come to the forefront and FA Chairman David Bernstein is delighted to have all of these aspects at one location.

He said: “The range of functions here are so great. it’s a coaching centre, it’s a sports science centre, a rehabilitation centre.

“It’s a fantastic thing for football and for The Football Association. This has been 20 years in development. A huge amount of work has gone in to it. And to have our President, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duchess to open this facility is really fantastic.

“There is so much built into this project. It’s an inspirational place as well, the pinnacle of things that are happening elsewhere around the country. We are trying to do so much with youth development generally, and this represents the pinnacle of that.”

Sir Trevor Brooking has been one of the driving forces behind the St. George’s Park project since its outset in 2010 and wants the venue to be put to good use in helping to create a firmer foundation for the young, English players of the future.

The FA’s Director Of Football Development added: “I’d like to see the quality of grassroots football improve. Rather than coaches thinking about where they are in the league at the end of the week, they should be thinking ‘are my players getting better, are we improving them from a technical point of view?’

“That’s really what the coach should be judged on in those early age groups. If we can improve kids technically, I think they will also stay in the game longer – because at the moment a lot of them leave as teenagers. That’s very important too.

“Initially we’ll get our 24 teams using St. George’s Park. You’d like to see a youngster coming in here at 15 and get the ‘wow factor’ and want to stay with the England teams throughout the age-groups, U17s, through to Under-21s and Seniors.”

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