International Player to Coach Programme Kicks Off at St. George's Park

Friday 04 Jun 2021
Former England international Michael Dawson is among the first cohort of former players taking part
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St. George’s Park hosted the launch of England Football Learning’s International Player to Coach (IP2C) programme last week, with the quartet of Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole, Carlton Cole and Michael Dawson forming the first cohort of former players on the brand-new development initiative.

Organised to support current and former England internationals as they transition from playing to coaching and management, the IP2C programme provides coaches with the skills and characteristics required to succeed at the highest levels of the game, whilst also developing an understanding of modern day management, leadership qualities and the ability to think strategically. 

Coaches who enrol onto IP2C undergo a psychometric assessment, before a bespoke, individualised programme is created and delivered by a team of experienced coach developers, industry insiders and experts from outside of football, who share masterclasses and real-life experiences through short modules of work. 

In line with COVID-19 restrictions, the face-to-face launch of the IP2C programme was paused last summer and participants were instead kept engaged online through virtual sessions with the likes of Gareth Southgate, Steve Cooper, Les Ferdinand and Dean Smith; however, with restrictions being eased the coaches have finally been able to get onto the grass and make full use of the top-class facilities at the home of English football, St. George’s Park.

Speaking at St. George’s Park, Steve Guinan, Senior Professional Game Player to Coach Lead at The FA and lead on the IP2C programme, said: “The International Player to Coach programme is a bespoke and individualised opportunity. We’re keen to recognise the craft knowledge of our current and former internationals and we want to embrace their desire to become first-team coaches and managers.

“We want to keep their playing knowledge – from playing at the highest level in international tournaments and in Champions League finals – in the game. We don’t want to lose them to other industries; we want to embrace their knowledge. Until Steven Gerrard recently it had been a number of years since we’ve had an English manager win a domestic trophy, so that’s a gap we’re trying to bridge.

Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney are also part of the first quartet of coaches involved

“This is the home of English football,” added Steve, talking about the superb facilities at St. George’s Park, where England’s national football teams are all based.  

“A lot of content is going to be delivered to coaches individually at their places of work as we want to be flexible in our approach, but there will be some delivered here (at St. George’s Park) too. 

“We want to get football people into St. George’s Park so that when other people come in, they can say who they’ve seen working on the grass. We want to get that football-centric feel and flavour into the building. That’s helped by the fact we’ve got four icons of the English game as part of the programme. At St. George’s Park you’ve got a multitude of grass pitches, an indoor 3G, the football centre, classrooms, a nice hotel and picturesque scenery. When you’ve got all of these things and put them into a melting pot, it’s conducive to a fantastic learning environment.”

The IP2C programme is due to run through to the summer of 2022, with the first quartet of former players continuing their UEFA A Licence alongside these sessions. Upon completion of the IP2C programme, coaches will then be given the option to apply for the UEFA Pro Licence; the highest professional game coaching qualification available. 

For more information on England Football Learning and access to a range of learning opportunities, please click HERE

For more information on the facilities available at St. George’s Park, please click HERE

If you would like more information on hosting an event at St. George’s Park, please call +44(0)1283 576200 or email 


By FA Staff