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FA unwraps £100m monument to future of football

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Phil McNulty | 08:41 UK time, Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The words of Sir Bobby Robson deliver one of a series of inspirational messages at the Football Association's new £100m monument to the future of the game in England.

England's players will see the words "Practice Makes Permanent" adorning the wall as they walk through the corridors to their vast dressing room at St. George's Park, the FA's National Football Centre tucked away in the countryside at Burton-upon-Trent.

And when England's senior squad finally take up residence after the realisation of a long-held - and much-delayed - dream at the FA, they will find the perfect environment in which to practice what the great manager Robson was preaching.

The future of English football was in full bloom at Burton on Tuesday. Not simply bricks and mortar but flesh and blood as coach John Peacock's under-17 squad, "the Burton Guinea Pigs" as he affectionately called them, got first use of the national game's breathtaking new facility.

Peacock, experienced and hugely respected in FA circles, was preparing his young charges for a four-team tournament involving Italy, Portugal and Turkey that kicks off on Wednesday night with a meeting against the Italians at Burton Albion's nearby Pirelli Stadium.

As England's young players enjoyed lunch, the Italian squad sat nearby. All four teams are using the facilities, with Roy Hodgson's senior squad expected to sample their new home ahead of the World Cup qualifier against San Marino in October.

Hodgson will address England's youth team during a visit on Wednesday, a sign of his commitment to a project which is seen as one of the cornerstones of the FA's plans to develop the game.

There are plenty of nods to English football's past, images of the greats around every corner. Photo: FA

There are plenty of nods to English football's past, images of the greats around every corner and a picture of victorious captain Billy Wright being hoisted shoulder high by his team mates at Wembley in that main dressing room, but everything at Burton is aimed at the future and rivalling the national centres that have been at the heart of the well-being of the game in superpowers such as France, Spain and the Netherlands.

Suites and rooms are dedicated to England's greats from Paul Gascoigne to Sir Bobby Charlton. There are 12 full-size training pitches and a grass replica of the Wembley surface. An indoor pitch also has a 100m sprint track running alongside should anyone wish to draw inspiration from another message decorating the walls of Burton, this time from the great American Olympian Jesse Owens, who said: "A lifetime of training for just 10 seconds."

Quite simply, Burton contains everything anyone connected with the English game would want in state-of-the-art form. The League Managers' Association and the Professional Footballers' Association are on site and on Tuesday a party of referees - led by Premier League referees' chief Mike Riley and World Cup final official Howard Webb - were on a tour of the facility.

Peacock's young players have beaten the likes of Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard to Burton and the coach makes no effort to downplay the role he sees the National Football Centre playing.

He said: "This is an immensely important facility. It is great credit to the Football Association that we have finally got it over the line. I came back to the FA in 2002 thinking the National Football Centre was going to open a year later and it didn't happen, so I'm glad I'm still around to see it.

"From a development point of view it's fantastic and the facilities are second to none. In terms of the quality of the pitches and the environment it is conducive to learning and education. From a coach education perspective it is the same. We can now run our national courses here, for A and B licences and the age group courses.

"We have now got everything under one roof. It is a really big benefit."

Peacock believes the centre has already had an impact on his squad, saying: "I think when they come down the driveway they will look and think 'wow what a fantastic complex' because there is no doubt facilities back at clubs are fantastic in their own right.

"I think it was imperative that we could replicate something along those lines ourselves as the national body - and in fact be better.

"I think the players need to see a difference from what they get at the club environment to what they get at international level, so this all-encompassing environment of learning, education and an environment where all that can be facilitated is so important."

The cutting edge of sport is everywhere. Including sports science laboratories, altitude chambers and multiple gymnasiums. On a tour on Tuesday it looked every inch as the FA would have imagined it when the idea was first conceived in 2001.

Peacock added: "When you look at the Dutch, French and Spanish they all have their own national centres. It was only right that a country the size of ourselves finally has our own technical base to work from. I see it as a training ground environment. Wembley is fantastic but it wasn't a technical football base where we could get on a training pitch and educate our players. Here we can.

"What is important is that all our stakeholders are working in the same direction. There is a groundswell of opinion that we need to produce better international teams, we need to get our teams playing regularly in the top tournaments to give them the experience, we need to develop better coaches going forward and all our stakeholders are buying into that.

"When you have got the LMA on site and the PFA have got an office here, it is a sign that we're all working together for the common theme of making English football better.
"I personally think English football couldn't have done without this centre. When you think of what the clubs have done individually in raising their standards, with facilities, coaching and general youth development structure, it has been fantastic. As an association we have needed to do something on top of that.

"It is for the game in England generally, it is for the whole country to get the benefit from."

England's youngsters have started that process this week - and the FA hopes it is one that will continue for generations.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    This is definitely a step in the right direction for English football. Of course it will take many years for its effects to be felt but at least the FA have started the process.

  • Comment number 2.

    It might have taken God six days to make the earth, but it takes a lot longer to develop a football team. I just hope nobody expects results overnight. It don't work like that!

  • Comment number 3.

    Until this country organise kids and youth football properly with properly trained coaches a centre like this will be a waste of time. We need to develop the kids touch, vision and skills at an early age. I am worried that the money spent here could have been used to train and employ the needed coaches.

  • Comment number 4.

    Surely the 'Alan Shearer' pitch should No.9?

  • Comment number 5.

    Great news. I hope that the facility will help to improve the technical ability of our younger players in the same way the South American, Dutch, Spanish and Italian teams always seem to do. I wonder if the 'golden era' of Lampard, Gerrard, Bechham et al would have been better if they had such faciltites? We'll never know, but at least this should be a great step forward if it is organised properly. John Peacock seems to know what he's doing.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    Facilities are one thing, giving kids the right coaching is another. If we don't get that right, and stick to promoting kids who are just big for their age and lack any actual skills, we may as well have not bothered.

  • Comment number 8.

    It's not just the facilities, but the coaching too... The FA should not underestimate the importance of having excellent coaches, even at youth level. English commentary always praises hard work, grit, determination... is this really what we want from the next generation of English footballers?

    While the development of these facilities is to be commended, if the coaches at youth level are in the mould of Stuart Pierce, I don't see how we can have youth players coming up that we can be proud of.

    I can see coaching being the difference in developing the next Fabregas or the next Cattermole.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think we all agree that something needed to change (typically it was late and over budget) but to be honest I feel for the FA. We are not going to be able to produce players with the technique of the spanish if we continue to allow the Premier League to be all powerful. Spain have blossomed mainly due to a club taking on the mantle, Barcelona's famous la masia, instead of it being solely the work of their FA. Puyol, Pique, Alba (as a youngster), Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, & Pedro all came through that academy, the FA did not play a major part in their dominance.

    The best children will continue to be lured by the big clubs and offered sweeteners to join their academies-they will then fall into the same old trap all the others have in the past. Strong, physical players to fit into the league.

  • Comment number 10.

    3. At 10:22 29th Aug 2012, daveh wrote:

    -------------------------------------------------

    Training coaches is one of the main purposes of Burton and also new rules about coaching kids has already come in recently which will improve technique. There isn't always a negative side to be found you know...

  • Comment number 11.

    If we want to imporve the coaching at youth level i don't think referencing Alan Shearer, a glorified Kevin Davies, is appropiate. We need to move football on from the kick and rush era that Shearer was suited to. This is the same era that granted over 50 caps to Heskey whilst refusing to play our best midfielder Scholes in his correct position.

    Stop looking in the past, look to the future.

  • Comment number 12.

    'Breathtaking'? The only thing breathtaking is the cost! £120m and how long has it taken? Given the mess that was the new Wembley and now this, just who is writing the cheques?

    Also, Phil, can you let me know how the 'root and branch' enquiry promised by the FA in late 2007 is coming along please? As a journalist, I'm sure you will have asked this question many times and so should be able to provide me with an answer very easily.

    Thanks

  • Comment number 13.

    This is a fantastic step forward however the coaches are the main issue......

    U21 Manager - Pearce - ex defender

    U19 Manager - Blake - ex defender

    I'm not saying defenders cant be good coaches but they were both hard players who were stoppers, who is going to drum in to the players the need to keep the ball, pass and move, playing in triangles, receiving the ball in danger etc....

    We need ex players like waddle, Hoddle etc involved

  • Comment number 14.

    It will be needed, the bigger clubs are increasing their stranglegold on the game and are denying the smaller clubs the chance to develop their academies. As the smaller academies go out of business it will be the FA that needs to step in.

  • Comment number 15.

    Impressive facilities but it has taken far too long for this to come about and hence we are years behind the top nations in world football. As said above it will take years for this to have a good effect on players and also the coaches need to be top notch too to develop top players.
    Comment #11 I think you don't like Shearer because

  • Comment number 16.

    In addition to better coaching it should also be considered the amount of truely competitive football which is played in England and by the top players. I think most people would agree that England's performances have been better in qualifying than in tournaments (worse opposition only in some cases). One of the differences is that they are all knackered by the time we get there. Players constantly appearing week after week are going to be further from their peak than those that get breaks.

    It's important to focus on the development of youth but there are also things like winter breaks and reducing the amount of matches being played which could also benefit us (and granted the best foreign players in our game) on a much shorter timeframe.

  • Comment number 17.

    As long as the coaching standards for youngsters are brought up to continental level at the same time, this should be very beneficial.

  • Comment number 18.

    Decades after our European neighbours, the FA have just realised that young kids need to play on scaled down pitches and goals. Something my own football suffered with as a kid, was playing on 'the big' pitches too early. It was thought to be good for us and we thought it a privilege. Our short passing game died in the streets.

  • Comment number 19.

    #11 how can you refer to him as a glorified Davies. Shearer may not have been the best ever England striker but he was class at club level. Davies on the other hand... how he ever got an England cap is a joke.

  • Comment number 20.

    Looks great, but still having kids play on full size pitches, probably 11 a side with the emphasis on winning is not the way forward. Also how does this wonderful facility help get young home grown players playing at the top clubs? Just wondering.

  • Comment number 21.

    Problem is as well taht as soon as we develop anyone who is technical and skilful they get told they are not strong enough for the first team. The premier league is about brute force and strength, until we change this mind set I cant see this country producing technically gifted players.

    Look at the current crop coming through


    Rodwell - decent ball winner, athletic but no real ball playing abilities

    Cleverly - neat and tidy but lacks creativity and skill

    Henderson - runs around a lot - not sure what he offers

    Wilshere - best of the youngsters, skillful and good on teh ball. need more like him.

    Livermore - again he is big and strong, good ball winner but no flair or technical ability

    Welbeck - another who runs and runs but his control is poor and yet to see any good footwork



    Just a selection there but i feel we keep producing average footballers who are not comfortable on the ball

  • Comment number 22.

    #16 The Academy

    But top players in other leagues play as many games as our players, but they still play well. I think the thing is some of our players LOOK tired, just because of how they go about playing the game.

    What's one of the basic things we are taught as kids? Let the ball do the work. If a pass is accurate and you keep possession, then you'll spend less time chasing shadows.

  • Comment number 23.

    What i find disapointing bout this, is that i've read a few articles on youth development and countries like spain and germany train there kids on smaller pitches as they feel that children who are developing physically faster look better than they actually are, as they are strong enough to shrug of the other kids and run the pitch, but when they get older they are not technically that able. The artcles have indicated that a lot of technically able, but physically underdeveloped arent getting a chance as they cant run the pitch and eventually get cut. I watched the video that was linked and the training complex has full size pitches. Apparently smaller pitches are better for technical development as there is less space to work in

  • Comment number 24.

    @20

    I know that this has changed in some areas; a lot of kids now don't play 11 a side until 13 or 14 and play 7 a side up til then. I have also been highly critical of the 11 a side policy.

    I think this will help young home grown players at top clubs in the long term, as I understand this centre will be used by the lower age groups as well. Therefore they will proably be better developed to the game at a younger age.

    I still think the level of coaching for the kids must be addressed however

  • Comment number 25.

    #21 Savva123

    I think things are changing a bit as it happens. This change may be slow, we may not yet have the players

    I think Spain's example is one people are looking to, if only to try and adapt and emulate in their own way. Also, if Chelsea have success this season with their buzzing creative forward line (as opposed to the brick out house that is Drogba), people will pay attention.

  • Comment number 26.

    Personally I believe as outside viewers we have made too much of the National complex!!

    France opened their complex in 1997 and won a world cup in 98 and Euro's in 00's with their golden generation. None of them came out of that 'great complex' most of that great team stayed around until 06 when they got to another world cup final!!

    Results can be achieved without such a complex so just because we have one doesnt mean we will ever improve. Mentally our players let themselves down. No matter how much training they do it doesnt change the fact they have only been truely outclassed once at a major tournamnet. They got smashed by Germany and embarrassed. But other than that they lose on penalties. Can't train to take penalties its all upstairs!!!

  • Comment number 27.

    All I ever hear is that our players do not get a break but this is not an excuse. The spanish players for example play as many league games, ok they get a break at Christmas but then surely that means that there schedule will be more hectic to fit in the games at another time in the year.

    We have to face it taht the reason we are poor in tournaments is because we are a very average nation when it comes to football. Our players all look good in the kick and rush of the premiership and playing alongside top foreign player but the moment you put them in continetal competition against teams that kepe the ball and slow the game down they look very poor and void of ideas.

  • Comment number 28.

    @21

    Cleverly has a very good creative mind and has plenty of skill; he can always turn on the ball and lay off a good pass, however he just needs to become a bit more experienced in order to show this at all times.

  • Comment number 29.

    25

    I agree - the recent domination of Spain and barcelona has made people realise that not all players need to be big and strong butinstead the smaller technical players are coming out on top.

    We are so far away from what teh Spanish are doing that its scary.

  • Comment number 30.

    28

    I hope you are right. Whenever I see him play he just looks to be average and have yet to see any craft and vision from him. He is certainly lucky to be playing for Man U

  • Comment number 31.

    For me it's not about having a high-tech centre of excellence. It's about the way kids play on the streets every day. Not all of them are going to have access to such a fantastic facility. They'll have jumpers for goals and at least 1 big boy to hoof it up to so they can score. Meanwhile in countries such as Brazil, Holland etc. skill, flair and guile are praised and rewarded. It's about grassroots, it's about changing the nation's perception of what good football REALLY is.

  • Comment number 32.

    If the facilities are as wonderful as reported, how about a nod towards the architects, engineers and surveyors who helped bring it to fruition. Who are they? As for the cost it looks about double the cost from 10 years ago when I suspect it would have been built if Wembley had stayed within budget.

  • Comment number 33.

    22: Play as many games possibly but look at Spain in recent years as the country with the most success. You can argue that with the majority of players coming from Madrid and Barca that they will keep posession more but I'd also say that the vast majority of the games in La Liga involving the big 2 are over well before 90 minutes. There's also winter breaks in many countries whereas we expect our players to play more games in and around Christmas as the weather generally becomes worse. I'm not saying it's the be all and end all, far from it, but it will have an influence on performance.

  • Comment number 34.

    @27. There was a study a few years ago and it showed that players in the English leagues were as likely to become injured as players in Germany, Italy and Spain before Christmas. Player in the English leagues statistically had more injuries year on year than the leagues that had breaks.

    As for your 'they have the same number of games'. 1) No they don't. Bundesliga is 18 teams. We have two domestic cups. 2) The Spanish and Italian leagues are run over more weeks. La Liga started the same weekend as the EPL this year. It will end well past the EPL does.

  • Comment number 35.

    34

    Yes the Spanish league goes on for longer as tehy have a break, this means they then have less time together before a tournament. They did research that showed that the Spain players had played more games than the England players.

    This is one big excuse - OUR PLAYERS ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH - we need to stop coming back to this pathetic excuse

    yes England has 2 domestic cups but most teams put out their reserves and youth players in one of those cups.

  • Comment number 36.

    #33 The Academy

    Of course, one could suggest that the inequity of football finance in Spain is as much behind their success as anything. With the majority of their players coming from two teams and these two teams having much more money than anyone else, the side effect is beneficial for the national team?

    #24 SwissColony

    But, English teams have such big squads, many of the top players barely feature in the League Cup and will be rotated for other games.

    It would be useful to know how many minutes say, Iniesta played last season (in whatever competitions) compared to, say, Rooney. Do that for the squad and then I think you'll have something more meaningful.

  • Comment number 37.

    England hasn't got a clue.

    If you want to improve the grassroots of football then the clubs need to link up with the schools, the clubs need to train the teachers so they in turn can teach the children. However, most English clubs don't know how to teach children the technical aspect of football anyway because this country values results over personal development. From the young ages coaches push kids to boot the ball up the field so they have a chance of scoring, but the more successful nations teach their kids how to act under pressure and hone their passing, pressing, tackling skills while ignoring the result of a mock up game.

    This £120M development is a waste of money, the only way to improve the youth situation in England to actually trim the grass so it looks good. This £120M scheme is just a plastic cover hiding the weeds.

    Wake up England.

  • Comment number 38.

    @31

    I'm fairly certain that ethos is changing; even compared to 6 years ago, national perfromances and English players' performances have made gone a fair way to change the perception of how to play football, judging from mainstream media sources and acceptance from the higher levels in the domestic game.

    I think it is just a case of time.

  • Comment number 39.

    36

    I agree with most of that.

    Barca to be fair produce so many quality youngsters taht it put everyone else to shame.

  • Comment number 40.

    @30

    I think his vision is evident; last season in the charity sheild and the few pl games he played he played some lovely passes that led to chances. In the olympics he spotted played some nice balls through (1 led to a Sturidge goal).

    When we played Italy recently, he played some nnice passes and opened up a little bit of space, he just semmed nervous/ reluctant when he should have turned at players/ towards the goal.

    I'm confident the signs are there, I reckon just experience and confidence could bring his quality to fruition

  • Comment number 41.

    40

    We will have to disgaree -

    How can we not produce any players like Waddle or Gazza anymore.......

  • Comment number 42.

    #30 Savva123

    So far, I think Cleverly has mostly looked good when not in a Man U shirt. This may be because he is not sure of his place at Man U yet, maybe Man U's games are played at a level and intensity that he is not yet used to and maybe he is just finding his feet.

    Whichever way it is, I think looks like he has potential, maybe he just needs to believe that he is good enough for Man U? (And only time will tell if he is or not.)

  • Comment number 43.

    A step in the right direction, but the centre of excellance on its own will achieve very little. In my opinion, the real challenges are
    a) Improving the quantity and quality of local, grass roots coaching.
    b) Increasing the exposure of domestic players to top flight football. The only feasible way to do this is by imposing quotas on clubs-Germany do, why can't we?

    Everyone knows this already though. The real problem is there is no impetus from the FA, and there is no impetus because there is no (real) pressure or accountability. How do create that? Hit them where it hurts! The customer is always right...

  • Comment number 44.

    More needs to be done in the schools. It hasn't helped that successive Govts have allowed playing fields to be sold off. It's the quality of coaching that counts, not having a full sized pitch with the surface of a snooker table. Our whole mind set needs to change when coaching youngsters.

  • Comment number 45.

    mrblueburns @25

    Also, if Chelsea have success this season with their buzzing creative forward line (as opposed to the brick out house that is Drogba), people will pay attention.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Had to laugh at your description of Drogba. Yes it's one way to describe him.

    But don't forget [surely you won't] it takes every type of player to win matches.

    For me Drogba was probably the best exponent of the true sole striker role in the last 20 years. Living in France at the time, I watched him regularly for Guingamp and Marseille [truly outstanding for them]

    No matter how far Chelsea develop this current line up, I doubt it would of been good enough to have beaten Barca and Bayern last year. Drogba was a major factor in those games.

  • Comment number 46.

    #43 neonandy

    What exactly is the quota imposed in Germany and how does that compare to the Premier League rules about squad sizes and youngsters?

  • Comment number 47.

    Cleverly is not a Man Utd type player, sorry to say it Man U fans but he isn't suited for their style of play. He should be a in slower, possession based club like Swansea. I am in no way saying he should move to Swansea, I am just saying Cleverly's style and Man Utd's style conflict which is why you always see these glimpses of brilliance yet a lot inconsistency.

  • Comment number 48.

    30. At 10:52 29th Aug 2012, Savva123 wrote:
    28

    I hope you are right. Whenever I see him play he just looks to be average and have yet to see any craft and vision from him. He is certainly lucky to be playing for Man U

    -------------

    What about that through ball to Sturridge for GBR at the Olympics? If that was Iniesta or Xavi we would be waxing lyrical...

  • Comment number 49.

    @41

    I think those players were the exceptions to the rules

  • Comment number 50.

    Phil- Like your comments........ " There are plenty of nods to English football's past, images of the greats around every corner .........." but, the only 'greats' I remember were the WC winning side of 1966? Might have been better to adourn the walls with all those who missed important penalties?

    Sorry, I am being churlish! England does have some great players of the past and the odd manager like Sir Bobby Robson; however if this new centre is to be a testimony to success in the English game then it will need much more than 'bricks and mortar' and the odd famous picture dotted here and there. Most of all it has to stop us being admirers of spectacular failures e.g. incompetence in the taking penalties for one, our inability to compete effectively in tournament conditions, to keep picking players who cannot perform at international level, even though they may be great at club level, etc.

    If the new National Football Centre can addressed and solve the above issues, then IMO it will be a success, otherwise it will be just another costly 'white elephant' , testimony only to the inadequacies of the FA

  • Comment number 51.

    #45 Londoner in exile returns

    As I think most of us know, on his day Drogba was quite unplayable and that is not a phrase I use lightly. Also, I don't want to take anything away from his achievements in a Chelsea shirt, achievements I have greatly enjoyed as you will probably guess!

    But, what I am saying is that Chelsea, so very far, are playing attractive, successful football with a formula (by design or accident) that we don't often see over hear. Naturally, I have a vested interest in them doing well and I'm not saying that Chelsea is some sort of standard bearer, but, would you agree that what they are doing and how they are doing it is refreshing and worth a glance as something different?

    p.s. interesting that Drogba (and Anelka) may, and I stress 'may' leave China. Apparently Drogba has been using Chelsea's facilities to train. Wonder where that story will lead...... (And I'm not suggesting he should or would come back to Chelsea by that.)

  • Comment number 52.

    I think it will be interesting to see how well BR does at Liverpool this season. Whether or not he can instil a more technically savvy passing game in players more used to the kick and rush of PL football. He's already made a positive start imo by playing Sterling against City and there are some very gifted (home grown) players coming through the Academy.

  • Comment number 53.

    This new football complex is a waste of money and a waste of time.

    I wont be suprised if we still see the "hoof and loof" and "when in doubt kick it out" football in 10 years time.

    People make the excuse of no winter breaks in England, Rubbish!! what about the foreign internationals in England who go on to play in major football tournaments and still perform. The African footballers who travel to play in the ACN during season time. The South Americans who have to travel long across the Atlantic to play qualifing games during season. These players still have the capability to travel and perform in the tournaments the are involved in.

    English footballers are just o load of overrated and overpaid plodders.

    Once the money comes in their development stops!!
    They indulge in their new found luxury lifestyles and become lazy.

    And as for English coaches? (usually tracksuit managers)
    I beleive 1992 was the last time an English coach/manager won the English 1st division title.

    This was before the Prem even started.

  • Comment number 54.

    The country has a problem with their outlook on football from the coaches at school encourage the big kids to bulldoze through their opposition to the fans baying for their team to "get it in the mixer" when they're losing and groaning at the first sight of patient, possession play.

    It's a mental problem more than a physical one. Technique can be taught - using it must be a habit.

    The football brains of English footballers are way behind those of our international counterparts. The fact we consider Roy of the Rovers style footballers like Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney world class while abusing true class acts like Lampard, Scholes and Carrick because of their style of play pretty much says it all for me.

    Teddy Sheringham > any other England forward since Kevin Keegan. Fact.

  • Comment number 55.

    48

    It takes more than one pass in the Olympics I'm afraid.

    Iniets and Xavi do it on a weekly basis and have won everything in world football

  • Comment number 56.

    @ 51

    I agree with you on Chelsea's developing style and the players bought over the last two seasons definately support that.

    However I think this change in style is becoming apparent in the rest of the premiership, following the success of the teams who play this type of football

  • Comment number 57.

    54

    Could not agree more. We seem to like players who have great engines but no real ability to put their foot on teh ball and control a game.

    If a player slows teh game down and is patient fans start to get impatient and want teh ball thumped long.

  • Comment number 58.

    55. At 11:24 29th Aug 2012, Savva123 wrote:
    48

    It takes more than one pass in the Olympics I'm afraid.

    Iniets and Xavi do it on a weekly basis and have won everything in world football

    -----------------

    Of course I'm not comparing them - I was being facetious in the same way I assume you were when you stated you'd "yet to see ANY creativity or vision" from Cleverly.

    It's a moot point - I've explained my thoughts on the problem with English football in post 54.

  • Comment number 59.

    Make no mistake - this centre's main aim should not be to train any players at all. Its biggest contribution to the national game will be a new wave of thousands of coaches. You don't need state of the art gyms, oxygen tents or dozens of full-size pitches to produce players. You need top coaches working from top to bottom, starting with kids the moment they want to kick a ball.

  • Comment number 60.

    savva123

    How can we not produce any players like Waddle or Gazza anymore.......
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Simple answer, our game has created fear.

    Whether we like it or not, the Waddle's of this world are risk players. The longer a player has the ball, the more runs they make with the ball, the greater the risk of the player losing the ball. We certainly do not encourage kids to play that way.

    Add to the fact we now have all and sundry screaming for a neat passing game.

    The individuality of our game has been removed.

    Examples, we cap a player like Beckham over 100 games for the ability to cross a ball yet rarely attempting to go past a player.

    Then look upon say an Adam Johnson who is prepared to run with the ball at his feet and we think he is a risk. Of course he is because he cannot produce it consistently but we won't persevere with his type.

  • Comment number 61.

    56. At 11:25 29th Aug 2012, Theres_something_about_joe wrote:
    @ 51

    I agree with you on Chelsea's developing style and the players bought over the last two seasons definately support that.

    However I think this change in style is becoming apparent in the rest of the premiership, following the success of the teams who play this type of football

    -----------

    Yeah but isn't it telling that the only fixture in that Chelsea team who contributes to their new style of play is the ageing, much maligned Frank Lampard. Chelsea bought no English players in the close season as they adapted to this style of play either (the jury is still out on Moses' technical ability - as much to do with his decision making as it is to do with his quick feet).

  • Comment number 62.

    @35 (Savva123) and @36 (MrBlueBurns)

    I was merely pointing out that the statistics point to a break helping. I don't think it's the solution, just a benefit. There are of course a great many Spanish, Italian, Argentinian etc players in the EPL who don't get breaks who are never described as tired in finals tournaments.

    The solution is limiting foreign players in the EPL. Spain plays so well as a lot of their starting eleven play week-in, week-out together with five or six coming from Barça and four or five from Madrid.

    You limit foreign players by producing better English players so top clubs want to buy them and stop looking abroad.

    Lastly, look at the teams in the Champion's league. How many English strikers will be playing? English goalkeepers? etc. then look at how many Germans and Spaniards will play. CL is the top level, out players don't get that exposure. There were what seven Liverpool players at the Euros? Not been in the CL for a couple of years now...

  • Comment number 63.

    60. At 11:33 29th Aug 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:
    savva123

    How can we not produce any players like Waddle or Gazza anymore.......
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Simple answer, our game has created fear.

    Whether we like it or not, the Waddle's of this world are risk players. The longer a player has the ball, the more runs they make with the ball, the greater the risk of the player losing the ball. We certainly do not encourage kids to play that way.

    Add to the fact we now have all and sundry screaming for a neat passing game.

    The individuality of our game has been removed.

    Examples, we cap a player like Beckham over 100 games for the ability to cross a ball yet rarely attempting to go past a player.

    Then look upon say an Adam Johnson who is prepared to run with the ball at his feet and we think he is a risk. Of course he is because he cannot produce it consistently but we won't persevere with his type.

    -------------

    FWIW I think Beckham would be a fantastic holding player. As far as the mental side of the game goes, he is a lot more advanced (ironically!) than most of our other glorified footballers. Problem is, he never had a plan B and the centre of midfield was always the most fought for position.

    If we had played McManaman on the right (not sure if I'm overlapping generations here) with Joe Cole on the left with Beckham & Scholes (or Ince, Butt, Redknapp when fit etc) holding and Lampard/Gerrard/Gazza behind a lone striker (Owen?), we may well have been more successful.

    Playing 5 in midfield back then though required a lot of foresight, which the FA aren't exactly known for!

  • Comment number 64.

    @61

    It is telling, but I don't think this was ever in question. The number of English players who can adapt to the style is limited at best.

    I must say I have been impressed with Lampard (last season also). I believe he plays far better in a deeper, ball playing/ keeping role; I wasn't really to awed by him before this

  • Comment number 65.

    60

    I agree 100%

    Its a shame thougha s we glorify certain players for work rate even though they are limited and yet the skilful or dangerous player is always a scapegoat.

    For example if a player like Adam Johnson plays and gives teh ball away this will be highlighted time and time again however if Gerrard was to give the ball away it would never be mentioned.

    Adam Johnson for example should have about 40 England caps by now - I mean how long were we crying out for a left winger??? Then we get one and dont play him or play him on the right

  • Comment number 66.

    64

    There are too many games when I hardly notice Lampard is playing for England - he is picked by reputation as he offers very little in a centre mid position

  • Comment number 67.

    Better late than never

  • Comment number 68.

    A lot of people seem to be saying we must look at what Spain have done and why are we not producing players like Xavi and Iniesta.

    The reality is that players like Xavi and Iniesta dont come along that often. Barca haven't had a production line of talent - players like these are once in a generation types.

    Spain have developed a style which is extremely effective and suits the players. However, they will not continue to dominate international football for a long period of time - all great sides have their time and Spain are the team of the moment.

    There are of course technical aspects that can be improved but as much as anything with England it is the mental side that we are missing. If you look at the match against Italy it came down to penalties which we always seem to lose. That must be an area we address as a matter of urgency.

  • Comment number 69.

    66. At 11:41 29th Aug 2012, Savva123 wrote:
    64

    There are too many games when I hardly notice Lampard is playing for England - he is picked by reputation as he offers very little in a centre mid position

    --------------

    That's a myth. Pretty much every game our midfield is overrun. Not because of one individual but because of

    1) successive managers' refusal to change from a 4-4-2
    2) the lack of personnel in midfield to complement each other (Lampard v Gerrard being a case in point).

    If we hadn't spent the last 10 years trying to fit square pegs into round holes and marvelling at our place in the FIFA rankings we may well have got the ball in the net more than the opposition rather than playing for penos and suffering a glorifious defeat as portrayed by our media.

  • Comment number 70.

    becks phone call @58
    It's a moot point - I've explained my thoughts on the problem with English football in post 54.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes i read your post of 54 and that is the problem.

    Football is a game that needs so many different types of players to succeed long term. your more or less thinking there is only one way to play the game.

    Your advocating, 'patient possession football' which is all well and good but before that can be achieved players have to understand movement off the ball.

    It is no good trying to play one way 'possession football' if all we are doing is playing catch up with those who play that way far better than we ever will.

    The lack of player movement off the ball is probably the biggest factor for the lack of success by England.

  • Comment number 71.

    I must also say that although I beleive that at a national level, we need a far more technically and tactically capable level of talent, we must hold off before we say we are miles behind EVERYONE.

    On a national level, I beleive if we feilded the right 11, we be a bit more competitive with the bigger teams than we were in the Euro's. Though it was only a friendly, the game against Italy was clearly encouraging.

    Also look at the likes of the German's and French; they are some way off matching the top team in the world, as are the Netherlands and possibly Brazil (but due to the current crop of players in my opinion rather than creating another competitive generation).

    The point I am making is that we are making far to many comparisons to Spain who are clearly miles ahead of everyone at a national and probably club level. However even at a club level in the CL last year, it was proved that you don't always need the most attractive football to win. We will never have the technical ability and tactical nouse of the Spanish and don't neseccarily need to. We need to supplement rather than overhaul I reckon.

  • Comment number 72.

    @69

    I agree with this entirely. Look at the Euro's; our 2 man battling midfield never had a chance of overcoming Italy, when no attention was given to playing a tactic that suited that particular game. Also the complimenting players comment is highlighted when scholes was played on the left back in the day.

    Again reffering to an unimportant friendly, but we looked far more comfortable on the ball and far more patient, because the right players and formation was selected

  • Comment number 73.

    In Spain, Italy and Germany they have a 3G pitch just round the corner in every village, town and city instead of 10 special pitches for the national team (when the players get there its far too late for them!). That's why their kids grow up to play the beautiful game and we play without technique. £300,000 = 1 3G pitch, £120,000,000 = 400 3G pitches = the beautiful game.

  • Comment number 74.

    @68 er Barça has produced a few more than just Xavi and Iniesta. Have you heard of a chap called Messi? Fabregas? Alba? Puyol? And of couse Pepe Reiner, Arteta... the list is rather long.

  • Comment number 75.

    70. At 11:48 29th Aug 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:
    becks phone call @58
    It's a moot point - I've explained my thoughts on the problem with English football in post 54.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes i read your post of 54 and that is the problem.

    Football is a game that needs so many different types of players to succeed long term. your more or less thinking there is only one way to play the game.

    Your advocating, 'patient possession football' which is all well and good but before that can be achieved players have to understand movement off the ball.

    It is no good trying to play one way 'possession football' if all we are doing is playing catch up with those who play that way far better than we ever will.

    The lack of player movement off the ball is probably the biggest factor for the lack of success by England.

    --------------------------
    Agreed. But isn't that part and parcel of possession football? Pass and move?

    The thing about playing catch up is at some point the other nations will hit optimum. In terms of technique, we're not that far behind. It's players' understanding of each other and getting out of the habit we're in that is leaving us behind.

    Hopefully, this centre goes some way to rectify that.

    Of course, there's no harm in having a plan B - but what's the harm in radical change - it's not as if kick and rush has worked so far!

  • Comment number 76.

    54.
    At 11:24 29th Aug 2012, becks-phone-call-went-to-me wrote:

    The football brains of English footballers are way behind those of our international counterparts. The fact we consider Roy of the Rovers style footballers like Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney world class while abusing true class acts like Lampard, Scholes and Carrick because of their style of play pretty much says it all for me.

    Teddy Sheringham > any other England forward since Kevin Keegan. Fact.
    ______________________________

    I see what you are saying but the fact is that most great teams have players that complement each other. The Shearer-Sheringham combination was so effective because of the vision of Sheringham and the power and finishing ability of Shearer. One gets the best out of the other. If you had cloned Sheringham so it was Sheringham-Sheringham up front it wouldn't work as well.

  • Comment number 77.

    @73

    Where have you been for 10 years?

    There are PLENTY of 3G pitches in England and have been for the last 10 years. Google it, I bet youi will find for 1 or 2 right next to you

  • Comment number 78.

    68

    I have to disagree

    Spain have won the last 3 major tournaments and this suggests that they can continue to win.... barcelona are producing player after player.....

    Thiago
    Tello
    Bartra
    Cuenca
    Roberto
    Dos Santos
    Muniesa

    Pedro
    Fabregas
    Pique
    Alba
    Puyol
    Valdes
    Iniesta
    Xavi
    Messi
    Busquets

  • Comment number 79.

    75.
    At 11:53 29th Aug 2012, becks-phone-call-went-to-me wrote:

    Exactly tactical nous is the most important element to be improved. A lot of this comes from the coaching side

  • Comment number 80.

    Full size pitches, 100M sprint track......

    I see the FA have actually taken nothing in from seeing how more successful countries do it.

    Until we change our mentality at youth level we will stay exactly as we are, a bunch of average footballers with the occasional once in a generation stand out.

    I dont see any evidence of a change in mentality here, this is just a shiny new premesis in which to showcase our outdated approach.

  • Comment number 81.

    •Comment number 27.
    At 10:49 29th Aug 2012, Savva123 wrote:

    We have to face it taht the reason we are poor in tournaments is because we are a very average nation when it comes to football. Our players all look good in the kick and rush of the premiership and playing alongside top foreign player but the moment you put them in continetal competition against teams that kepe the ball and slow the game down they look very poor and void of ideas.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Good points. I'd like to add "why do those other teams slow the game down"? "Why are the latin teams so good at football?"
    The answer is simple: The weather. Running around like a headless chicken at 90mph during the cold months is the EPL way. On the contrary, in countries where it is much warmer, it makes sense to take time to build the attack and place emphasis on ball skills and ball control.
    My conviction is supported by the number of world cups won by those latin countries.
    England fail because they try to apply EPL tactics to tournaments that are inevitably played in the summer months. After the second or third game they are invariably knackered. Chasing the ball for 90 minutes in 90 degree heat will lead to failure.

  • Comment number 82.

    This should have had priority over the new Wembley and been built 10 years ago, with Wembley only opening its gates now. Typical topsy turvy reasoning from the FA. But better late than never - perhaps, in time, Burton will produce the next England Word Cup winning team that will lift the cup at the 'new' Wembley. It will probably be about 30 years before we are a host WC nation again, which hopefully should be enough time for the fruits of Burton to be ripe for plucking .

  • Comment number 83.

    The subject of coaching [a glorified term for a teacher] and how someone must obtain badges to practice being a coach is something i find hard to take.

    If we want more coaches and all coaches are taught in the same way, then we end up with more coaches who are the same as what we already have. It stands to reason that we will not see improvement if everything remains the same.

    What makes a great manager, a great coach, a great player?

    The answer is they are different they break the moulds and do something different, they certainly do not run with the pack and play safe.

    We create so much fear of being different and possibly failing in England [and not just football] that we stifle true talent for the average joe who is always failing.

  • Comment number 84.

    #61 becks-phone-call-went-to-me & 64 Theres_something_about_joe

    The difference between Lampard and, say, Rooney and Gerrard is that he is not as naturally talented as them, but he is cleverer than them.

    The consequence is that he thinks about what he is doing rather than relying on instinct. Also, he generally and naturally works harder than them and that practise has risen him to a level where he is almost as good as their talent - but with brains!

  • Comment number 85.

    81

    The weather has a part to play but in general we do not keep the ball long enough to hurt the big teams - we are so wasteful in posession.

    Italy played us off teh park and many were saying that it was an average Italy team - worrying

  • Comment number 86.

    @74 SwissColony

    Messi of course - I was thinking specifically of Spanish players. There are others but the point is not necessarily at the level of Xavi and Iniesta.

    Fabregas is surely as much a product of Arsenal as Barca?

    The point I was making is that at certain points in time (such as the Utd class of '92) a group of exceptional players emerge at one club but this is the exception rather than the rule.

  • Comment number 87.

    84

    I think you rate Lampard a bit too much - He never puts his stamp on an England game.

  • Comment number 88.

    #83 Londoner in exile returns

    I don't know what these coaching badges are all about quite frankly. Has anyone any idea how a coaching badge would make me better? (It all sounds a bit like The Scouts.)

    In my profession, effectively anyone can pass the exams, it's what you do professionally that makes you good at your job. Likewise, a driving license only means you are safe to learn the rest by yourself.

    Why do we put so much stall in these badges?

  • Comment number 89.

    76. At 11:55 29th Aug 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    54.
    At 11:24 29th Aug 2012, becks-phone-call-went-to-me wrote:

    The football brains of English footballers are way behind those of our international counterparts. The fact we consider Roy of the Rovers style footballers like Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney world class while abusing true class acts like Lampard, Scholes and Carrick because of their style of play pretty much says it all for me.

    Teddy Sheringham > any other England forward since Kevin Keegan. Fact.
    ______________________________

    I see what you are saying but the fact is that most great teams have players that complement each other. The Shearer-Sheringham combination was so effective because of the vision of Sheringham and the power and finishing ability of Shearer. One gets the best out of the other. If you had cloned Sheringham so it was Sheringham-Sheringham up front it wouldn't work as well.

    --------------

    Very true. Of course my statement seems a bit cut and dried - probably more so than I intended it to be!

    The way Sheringham and Shearer worked together was a joy to watch - but he also did it with Klinsmann, Ferdinand, Cole, Yorke & Solksjaer. Great player.

    The closest thing we have is Rooney but I don't think he has the discipline and is better suited to a lone striker role with Oxlade behind him - I honestly don't see how playing Gerrard and Rooney in the same team benefits us. Not about 2 headless chickens on the pitch (and that's not factoring in Scotty Parker or Theo Walcott!).

    I'm intrigued as to how RVP and Hernandez play together at United as RVP is very similar the Sheringham (cue the Gooners spitting out their morning coffee!). Even Kagawa & Welbeck / Hernandez / RVP because he's so adaptable has great potential.

    Apologies for going off topic!

  • Comment number 90.

    @78 Savva123

    Of course they may do - but the same was probably said of Germany in the early 90s or France circa 2000. It will be interesting to see how the "new" generation of Spanish players perform in the next few years.

  • Comment number 91.

    #87 Savva123

    I probably do, but, what is someone's stamp? Rarely do you see a stamp like Pirlo's in the summer (in only really one game mind) and usually a stamp is taken to mean a big contribution to the outcome of a game a la Gerrard in the 2005 Champions League final and the 2006 FA Cup final.

    But, Gerrard may be good at the comeback heroic's, but, where was he when things were going wrong in the first place?

    Also, what was Makelele's stamp for example?

  • Comment number 92.

    87.
    At 12:03 29th Aug 2012, Savva123 wrote:

    Maybe so, but I think this was more due to how he was played and who he was played with, rather than the player himself

  • Comment number 93.

    90

    It will be interesting to see but so far they look very good - Their under 21s look very good and they have players like Martinez, Mata, llorente and Cazorla who barely ahd a kick of teh ball at the Euros.

    Plus the likes of Munian and Thiago who did not even make the squad.

  • Comment number 94.

    Eagley fc played a trial game on the replica wembley pitch this summer, go to their website to see more pictures of this excellent facility

  • Comment number 95.

    91 & 92

    I just do not think lampard has ever functioned well in a team that does not allow him to constantly charge in to the box and score goals

    England have wasted so many years forcing teh issue with him and Gerrard playing together - when we should of been begging Scholes to play

  • Comment number 96.

    It's pretty embarassing that it has taken sooooo long to finally get a centre like this for the national game, with millions flowing into football in England. Italy, France etc have already had this sort of faclity for decades. Germany has excellence centres for all the olympic sports it backs. What does England get a national football excellence centre for one sport, after an Italain manager insisted upon it, otherwise it still wouldn't have been built...

    No, instead of robbing schools of playing fields, there should be a number of government funded regional centres for all popular sports, with professional coaching. This would not only encourage yougsters, but make getting to the top of a given sport less of a lottery.

    It's a waste of time telling the government though, they'll just pretend the country can't afford it, but gratefully shake the hand of sportsmen/women that do succeed "despite all odds", i.e. sports infrastructure...

  • Comment number 97.

    @89 becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    Oh I agree Sheringham got the best out of several players not just Shearer.

    What I was really trying to highlight is that we need a balanced team. Creative players with vision, defenders who are comfortable on the ball, strikers who are clinical.

    Teams can be formed in many different ways. Spain as an example are not a balanced team but being unbalanced works superbly for them - if that makes sense. England need to find what works best for them - they haven't found it yet in my opinion.

  • Comment number 98.

    @85
    We are so wasteful because ball control is not the important thing in the EPL. It's all about blood and thunder, playing at a high tempo etc.
    Inevitably this approach fails come a summer tournanment where a number of games are played in quick sucession and so energy conservation and good technique are a must.
    As an example, look at the likes of Parker, Gerrard, Rooney et al at the last Euros: they have poor touch and ball retention skills so they have to make up for it by running around chasing the ball which only leads to fatigue.
    If this new centre is to do anything useful, it is to make the youngsters feel confident with the ball and not treat it like a hot potato that has to be got rid of immediately.

  • Comment number 99.

    98

    Spot on - we must teach players to be comfortable with teh ball and not try and get rid of it as soon as they receive it.

  • Comment number 100.

    #95 Savva123

    What you also need are players that are committed and put the team before themselves.

    In which case, exit stage left for Scholes, Carragher and probably should have been Carrick as well. As players, they may be examples of other things but I've had enough hearing about such quitters.

 

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