New centre 'will help win World Cup'
Published : 07 Oct 2012 08:18:51Rss feed
England's new national football centre will be officially opened on Tuesday with its chairman insisting St George's Park will be the key to securing the World Cup.
The £105m centre near Burton will be opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and will be the permanent base for all the England teams, as well as a training centre for coaches and a centre of excellence for sports science and medicine.
David Sheepshanks, the former Football League and Ipswich chairman who is now chairman of St George's Park, said: "People ask me will St George's help England win the World Cup? My answer is absolutely yes. When will happen? Let's look at the long term and say in the 2020s."
He added: "Investment in coach education will take 10 to 12 years to be repaid.
"I see St George's Park is a clear demonstration of saying, just like Spain built their Ciudad del Futbol 15 years ago and Clairefontaine was built 10 years before France won the World Cup, this is a statement of the FA's commitment to innovation and advancing everything to do with international football."
Sheepshanks said the advantages would not just be for the national teams, but that the clubs and grass roots would also benefit.
He added: "We should be buying in to the virtues of serious long-term planning and a commitment to deliver our dreams for England. This will create winning England teams - not just our senior teams but the women's team and the other 24 teams who will use this as their permanent base.
"In the short term they will undoubtedly get a benefit from having a national academy where they can plug into all the support services and facilities that any other elite team would expect to have. The real benefit is longer term and will come from our investment in coach education and raising the standards across the whole game."
"Also important is that what we do at elite level cascades down to the grass roots of the game. We are convinced better coaches means better players, and means a winning England, with a new generation of more technically adept players who are decision-makers."
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