England Manager spent a day at National Football Centre where he spoke to the U17s
by Glenn Lavery
Roy Hodgson gave an inspirational address to the England Under-17 squad at St George’s Park ahead of their match against Italy
John Peacock's side enjoyed the privilege of being the first Three Lions team to stay at The FA's new National Football Centre.
They were welcomed to the complex by Club England Managing Director Adrian Bevington and given unprecedented access to its first-class facilities ahead of the SGP International Tournament.
It was England boss Hodgson’s second visit to St George’s Park and he urged the U17s to savour their time at the Staffordshire base.
Hodgson said: "I wished the players well and told them they were very fortunate to be able to practice and prepare for matches in such a wonderful environment.
"I hope they are going to be coming here a lot with the U17s and hopefully the Under-21s and the senior team.
"I made it clear that they are in a very privileged position and that shouldn't believe they have actually arrived yet.
“That’s because if you're an elite player at U17 level there's still a lot of hard work to do before you can consider yourself an elite player at under-25 and a full international.
"They have taken the first steps and all I can do is wish them well in their careers and hope they can profit from the great facilities on offer here."
Hodgson was also treated to a special tour of the medical facilities by Gary Lewin, England's Head of Physiotherapy, and was impressed by what he saw.
He added: “It was a very profitable day. It’s amazing how things have pushed on since I was last here three months ago.
“It was pretty much in shape then but I’m amazed at the progress. It’s really good to see. It’s a fantastic football venue.”
Earlier in the day Hodgson met 49 black and Asian coaches who are benefitting from a unique bursary scheme being led by The FA.
And he ended his day on the road by watching the U17s slip to a 3-2 defeat to the Italians.
Hodgson will take his England team to SGP in October ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland and he can’t wait to set up base there.
He said: “I look forward to staying anywhere with the England team but it will be nice to stay here.
“There’s no question that we will have all the things we need to prepare. We will be doing it in a centre that has been purpose-built.”