England 'to benefit from soccer centre'
David Sheepshanks believes England "need to emulate what Spain and France have achieved" - and that the newly completed National Football Centre can help them become the best side in the world.
NFC chairman Sheepshanks is confident the new complex at Burton will produce higher quality coaches and - in turn - better players. He points to similar investment by France and Spain in their Clairefontaine base and Madrid academy respectively, leading to World Cup and European Championship success during the past decade.
"We have to believe that in St. George's Park we are investing in the future and the long term success of the England side," Sheepshanks said.
"We need to emulate what Spain and France have achieved. France invested in Clairefontaine in the 1980s and it took 10 years before they won the World Cup. Spain have also invested in coach development very significantly with their centre in Madrid many years ago and now they are reaping the benefits. Better coaches inspire better players.
"We are top eight in the FIFA rankings today and we have to believe we can become top four, top two and even one day the best.
"That is one of the things St. George's Park is all about. Basically what it is about is that better coaches make better players."
Sheepshanks made his claims as the official handover of the centre to the Football Association took place from the site developers - Bowmer and Kirkland - just 17 months after building work got under way.
He said: "As things stand Spain have 25,000 UEFA A, B and pro-licence coaches, Italy 30,000 and Germany 35,000 while England have less than 6,000. Effectively England is five and six to one down ratio-wise on any other major soccer nation in terms of qualified coaches at that level.
"We hope in the next five years to increase that number very substantially and a significant part of that will be via St. George's Park."
Sheepshanks confirmed that the senior England side will be using St. George's Park as their base before internationals from next season. He said: "They will be here in the autumn all being well and they will be based here before every international along with the other 23 England teams at all age levels."
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