Gary Neville believes that tomorrow’s opening of St George’s Park marks the start of bright future for English football.
The England coach is at the new national football centre this week as Roy Hodgson’s squad prepare for World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland in their new £100m home.
The former Manchester United star, who won a total of 16 major honours including eight Premier League titles as player, says that the new facility is as good as any he came across in a glittering career.
“This facility is the best I’ve seen and I’ve been to some great football facilities over this last 25 years,” Neville told Sky Sports. “I’ve been fortunate and privileged, but the quality of this facility is absolutely incredible.”
St George’s Park will be officially opened tomorrow by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in what will mark a landmark moment for the Football Association.
The new centre outside Burton-upon-Trent, which has been over a decade in the making, will provide a state-of-art-home for all 24 England teams for the very first time.
But England’s most-capped right back believes that of even greater importance to the national side in the long term is St George’s Park’s role as the new national centre for coach eduction.
“It is about coaches. Ultimately the information that is passed to children between the ages of six and 12 is the most important period,” Neville added.
“We need to get as many people educated as possible and this facility should be able to have thousands of coaches coming through the system.
“[St George’s Park can] make sure that the actual coach educators can get the information into those people, so that the six to 12 year olds are getting better information, the right information and the delivery is correct.
“In turn, long term, we’ll produce better English football players and more English football players, because that’s a problem that everybody sees. The decreasing percentage of English football players in the league is something that no one is happy about.
The FA hopes that St George’s Park will provide a training base for 1,200 coach educators who will, in turn, train 250,000 new coaches by 2018.
“It’s a great week for this facility and for the FA. It’s a wonderful time and we should celebrate this week because it’s been a long time coming.”
Take a tour of St George’s Park with Club Website – click here to view gallery.
What does St George’s Park mean to you and to English football? Are you hoping to attend a course there? Do you expect the centre to raise the bar for football coaching across the country?
If you’re from elsewhere in the UK, would you like to see your national FA open a national football centre? Or is the cash best spent elsewhere?
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