England must change footballing philosophy, says FA director of elite development

The 42-year-old wants to change habits such as "encouraging children to smash the ball up the pitch" and hopes a new approach will bring about better players
Dan Ashworth, the FA's director of elite development, is aiming to change England's footballing philosophy in order to nurture new talent.

The 42-year-old, who took up the role in March, enjoyed a professional footballing career with Norwich before working with various academies and youth teams.
And Ashworth is now looking to do his bit for the national side, insisting the country must change its coaching techniques to develop quality players that are better on the ball. 

He told the Daily Telegraph: "Without being disrespectful to our current players, we are now further behind some other nations and we have to make sure that gap decreases.

"We have to have a more technically based game and players who are more comfortable on the ball. I see my job as giving Roy a bigger and better pool of players so if Wayne Rooney can't play, no problem.

"When you look back at the likes of Chris Waddle and Paul Gascoigne, we always would have a series of match-winners in our teams, technical players.

"It is for full-backs to get forward, midfield players who can rotate who can deal with the ball under pressure, can score and create.

"My vision, my dream, is that there's a philosophy on how we play the game from the cradle to the grave."

Ashworth suggested generations of encouraging long-ball football will make the mentality hard to break, but urged focus from all levels of the game.

He continued: "We have to change years and years and years of ingrained habits of encouraging children to smash the ball up the pitch, applauding when they smash it further and longer. We have to avoid criticising when children try skills.

"And there are 60 million people involved in this: media, supporters, parents, coaches, players - everybody."