By Nicholas Veevers
Sir Trevor Brooking hopes the opening of St.George’s Park produces an increase in the quality and numbers of English players in the game.
The new national football centre in Burton will be officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Tuesday, just 24 hours after Roy Hodgson’s squad arrive to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.
And Brooking hopes that the Park can ultimately lead to a greater choice of English players in the Premier League for Hodgson and his successors to pick from.
He said: “We know we have to improve the quality and the depth of players that we have.
“We need to start by getting the 35 per cent of English players in the Premier League up to 45 per cent, then 55, then 65 per cent and so on.
“Whoever is in charge of the England team will have a better choice for his squad and when you compare us to the likes of La Liga, where they have around 75 per cent of Spanish players featuring every week, that’s where we want to get to in the next five to ten years.
“Hopefully St. George’s Park can raise the bar of coaching, players and the development of the game.”
As Hodgson and his squad aim to take another step towards the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on Friday, Brooking explained that it was England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008 and the disappointing World Cup campaign of 2010 which kick-started the final push to build St. George’s Park.
The FA’s Director Of Football Development added: “It was the failure to qualify for the Euro Finals in 2008 and the concern about how we were developing young players that saw us produce ‘The Future Game’ document and how we could become more technical and improve the quality of coaching and so forth.
“Then, the disappointing showing at the World Cup in 2010 seemed to quicken up that support and encouragement for us to try and create the facility that the first people had thought about a decade before.
“We got it over the line just before Christmas 2010, then got the contract issued in February 2011 and things got underway.
“To actually complete the park in 18 months means a lot of credit must go to the people in all different departments of the organisation who kept it on time and on budget.”
By Nicholas Veevers