National Football Centre - is it needed?

Why have a National Football Centre of Excellence? What do our nearest footballing rivals have at the moment? Below are a few.

FRANCE - The Clairefontaine academy 30 miles outside Paris does not have a national intake. It takes boys from Paris and the areas west and north-west of the city. Each year 24 boys, aged 13, are selected for the three-year residential course which they combine with playing for their clubs at the weekend. On average, Clairefontaine claim that six to seven from every intake go on to sign professional contracts. The success of French football is really built on a brilliant regional structure.

There are designated high schools for children who are gifted at sport - Eric Cantona attended one and they are throughout France. There are eight schools that are multi-sport but run the same football programme as Clairefontaine. The football flagship was once based at Vichy but was switched to Clairefontaine, just outside Paris, which is known as the Institut National du Football. It also caters for women's football and is the base for the France senior team when they play home matches.

GERMANY - No national centre and no national stadium. The federal-minded Germans leave player development all in the hands of the clubs who – judging by national team performances – do a very good job of it.

SPAIN -All national teams from junior to senior levels train at a complex outside Madrid known as La Ciudad del futbol de Las Rozas. However, the place does not have a residential training scheme and was quiet enough to be used recently as a temporary base for Real Madrid while their new training ground was being built. Promising young Spanish players are developed by their clubs and then recommended by their regions to play in the junior national team.

ITALY - The Italian football federation leaves development of young players in the hands of the clubs who get them as early as seven years old. The clubs oversee their players' education as well. For example, as a trainee at SPAL in Ferrara, a young Fabio Capello studied for a chartered surveyors' diploma. The jewel in the crown is Coverciano – the Italian football federation HQ – on the outskirts of Florence. The Italy senior team always prepares there although again there is no residential scheme for young players. Instead Coverciano is the Oxbridge for coaches, physios, sports doctors and even directors of football. It is there that Capello and generations of post-war Italian coaches have gone to learn the secrets of Italian football management – with great success.

ENGLAND - Before the Burton Proposals there was Lilleshall (pictured below) and also Bisham Abbey.

A proposed dedicated centre for the training of future England stars, is to be in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire. The former FA chief executive Adam Crozier signed off the purchase of the 350 acre Byrkley Park Estate for £2million in 2001. Planning permission was granted in June that year and an opening date of 2003 was set. It's still ongoing.........
When we all finally assess a team it is down to what major event have they won?
World Cup: Italy (4): Germany (3): England (1): France (1): Spain (0)
Euro Cup: Italy (1): Germany (3): England (0): France (2): Spain (1)
So Italy are the most successful team (in this list) in the World Cup
and Germany have won the most trophies in total with 6.
We should therefore adopt a joint German & Italian thoery to their National sides!!

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