FA receive keys to St George's Park

Developers have completed work on the National Football Centre in Burton upon Trent which will be used to educate English coaches and players

The FA have been handed the keys to the new St George's Park National Football Centre in Burton upon Trent.

Developers have completed work on the 330-acre site, which has been built with the aim of increasing the country's output of elite-level coaches and players.

The project took inspiration from the success of France's Clairefontaine, which produced a number of stars such as Thierry Henry and William Gallas.

And FA chairman David Sheepshanks believes the centre's completion is an important step for the future of the England national team.

Sheepshanks told Sky Sports: “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.

"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. The teacher has a defining influence. We know that from schools.

"Good teachers excite them and, when it's teachers they don't enjoy, they tend to turn off. It is exactly the same in sport and football.

Sheepshanks also insists that more qualified coaches are needed in England if the national team are to compete with the likes of newly-crowned European champions Spain.

He added: “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."