FA chairman Bernstein defends England youth development following Rio Ferdinand criticism

The Manchester United defender cited the absence of a clear "coaching strategy" for young kids, but the FA honcho believes the current system will eventually come good
Football Association chairman David Bernstein has defended English football following Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand's criticisms of the country's youth development.

The England national team has been slammed by a number of high-profile figures following a 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday, with Gary Lineker even describing English football as being in the “dark ages”.

Ferdinand took to Twitter to air his scathing views on the Three Lions, but Bernstein has now hit back in support of English football and has called for patience.

“Rio Ferdinand should know that we are putting a huge amount of work into that [youth development],” the FA chief told reporters.

“We are implementing a complete programme of youth development football within the leagues, with the EPPP system and with the opening of St George's Park. All those things are in hand.

“They are not producing the results yet but they will do. These things take a while but these things are in place. There is a huge amount of work taking place and I think potentially we are in a very decent shape.

“I am sure when he reflects on it Rio and others will appreciate that this is happening, it's not talk about what might happen. It is happening, a lot of work is going into it and a lot of people are working very hard.”

Ferdinand, who announced his retirement from international football in May, slammed England's inability to keep possession and believes youngsters aren't being taught properly.

“In the last 10 years when have England played ­consistently well? A coaching strategy for our young teams/kids needs to be implemented to see change,” he wrote via Twitter.

“In most Premier League teams retaining the ball is done best by foreign players... they are taught to pass to a man with a man on #DealWithit.

“The so-called ‘golden generation’ obviously wasn’t ‘golden’ because we won nothing! Great players don’t always make great teams.”