By Peter Glynn
Roy Hodgson has challenged coaches across the country to develop a generation of young talent to match the likes of Spanish superstars Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
The England Manager was speaking ahead of Tuesday’s grand opening of St. George’s Park – The FA’s new £100m national football centre.
The overarching goal of the facility in Burton upon Trent is to produce better coaches and in turn better players and attempt to replicate the success of World and European champions Spain in the future.
And Hodgson said: “I don’t think that we will be let down by the facility at all.
“Now it’s a question of what work we, the coaches in England, can do within it to make certain we produce players of the quality which certainly we have seen the Spanish produce over the last 10 to 12 years, and Germany for that matter.
“That’s our goal and we can’t any more complain that we haven’t got the right facilities to achieve the goal.”
Hodgson’s senior squad will be training on the 330-acre site for the first time this week, but the former Fulham, Liverpool and West Brom boss stressed the biggest impact will be with future generations of the Three Lions.
All of England’s 24 national teams will use the site as their training base ahead of international fixtures.
Hodgson warned St. George’s Park will not provide a quick-fix to propel England towards the same level as Spain’s all-conquering side.
Instead, he stressed that the development of coaches at the facility will help produce better players in the long-term, bolstering the nation’s chances in the next ten years or so.
Hodgson added: “They should be thinking at U16 and U17 level ‘this is where I am going to be in four to five years time when the national coach of the time picks me to play in the first team.’
“So we have high hopes.”
In 2010 The FA launched, The Future Game, a blueprint for the development of young English talent.
The playing philosophy shares many similarities with Vincent Del Bosque’s all conquering Spain side – keeping possession, moving the ball through the thirds of the pitch and playing with creativity and imagination.
All FA coaching courses held at St. George’s Park will champion The Future Game philosophy.
And Hodgson is pleased coaching has been recognised as fundamental to the development of future English players.
He said: “For a country like England, which has a great football tradition and a great football coaching tradition, it's not been good that we don't have our own home of coaching – a home of English football.
“Now we have it, and I’m really hoping it is going to make a major difference to peoples’ perception of the importance of coaching.”
St.George’s Park, The FA’s new National Football Centre, officially opens on Tuesday. Learn more about The FA’s Future Game philosophy and The FA Licensed Coaches’ Club here.
By Peter Glynn