The development of coaches holds the key to England’s football future, according to England manager Roy Hodgson.
Addressing the FA council yesterday, Hodgson said that the Football Association takes player and coach development “very seriously” and can be “very proud” of St George’s Park, the FA’s new £100m national football centre.
The 65-year-old praised the new home for his England team, where they will train ahead of their fixture with Brazil next month alongside the England Under-21 and Under-19 squads.
But he believes the real significance of St George’s Park will be felt at the other end of the football spectrum, with an improvement in coach and player development.
“There is a belief that you don’t get taught or coached how to play football, you can either do it or you can’t and that players are born, not made and coaching certificates are a waste of time,” said Hodgson.
“I’ve always railed against that argument and railed against any cuts to coach education programmes, so I’ve been disappointed that we haven’t had the same kind of facilities as the French have and the Spanish have.
“Now, I think we have got arguably the best in the world and we can be very proud of St. George’s Park.
“People will be very happy to go there and that will help us to develop players and coaches and, perhaps even more important than that, it says to everybody that the English Football Association take the development of players and coaches very seriously.”
It was the first time that Hodgson has been invited to speak before the FA Council, made up of representatives from across the professional and grassroots game.
Speaking at the first FA Council meeting of the FA’s 150th anniversary year, the man hoping to take the Three Lions to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil spoke of his pride at leading the national football team.
“This is a job that I have always wanted to do, so it was very nice when the Chairman and his selection committee decided I was to be the man,” he said.
“That was a tremendous, proud moment for me at the end of a very long career.”