St George's Park means players have no excuses - Steven Gerrard

 

Steven Gerrard says England's players can have no excuses if they fail to fulfil their potential following the opening of St George's Park.

The Football Association's £105m centre of excellence will house England's 24 teams from junior to senior level.

"We've got the best stadium in the world and now we have got the best training facilities," said Gerrard.

A look inside St George's Park

"We are taking away all of the excuses the players may try to use in the future because this place is awesome."

St George's Park, which was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Tuesday, includes 11 outdoor pitches, five of which are floodlit and have under-soil heating, a full-size indoor 3G artificial pitch and an altitude chamber to mimic a variety of playing conditions.

England are training at the Staffordshire base as they prepare for World Cup qualifiers against San Marino at Wembley on 12 October before a trip to play in Poland on 16 October.

"The place has blown me away," said England captain Gerrard. "It's my first time here and all the lads are buzzing to be here.

Inside St George's Park

"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"

"We are really lucky to have facilities like this. It's obviously a long-term plan and can hopefully bring success to the national teams."

England striker Wayne Rooney echoed Gerrard's enthusiasm for the facilities at St George's Park and the impact they can gave.

"It's a great platform for the younger generation and for young coaches as well," said the Manchester United star.

"I think it's going benefit the whole of England, especially the younger players."

Manager Roy Hodgson also lauded St George's Park, although he issued a note of caution that "facilities in themselves don't make you a better football team".

He added: "What makes you a better football team is the work that you do within that facility, so here we have the chance. Players will be really happy to come here and work here.

"I think we have to forget the past, we can't win a World Cup yesterday.

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"I'm rather hoping that the work that will go on here and the amount of effort we'll put in here to help produce better players and coaches will lead us one day to that World Cup victory."

FA director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking highlighted the importance of coaching and believes St George's Park will inspire England's players.

"The under-16 group came here and they are desperate to come back because it's an aspirational place," said Brooking.

"The senior lads thought it was magnificent. I think they were pleasantly surprised at the quality of it, but the key thing is the coaching.

"The aim is to give the coaches the knowledge to help younger players - right from five years of age up - to get a little bit better, to encourage them, to enthuse them and get comfortable with the ball."