By Andrew Warshaw
September 5 – Whilst the speech of new FA chairman Greg Dyke highlighted the dearth of English players in the Premier league eligible for the national team, buried in the text was evidence of a lack of highly skilled English coaches.
Dyke expressed his concern that the country was lacking behind its European counterparts, a problem that is, in time, expected to be eased by the FA’s new state-of-art £105 million national football centre, St George’s Park, which was opened last year.
“The figures here are interesting,” said Dyke. “England has 1,161 coaches at UEFA ‘A’ level compared with 12,720 in Spain and 5,500 in Germany. At Pro Licence level England has 203 coaches, Spain has 2,140 and Germany has more than a thousand.”
” I am told by UEFA that these figures could be misleading because they are not necessarily comparing apples with apples. Some of our leading coaches have also pointed out that what matters is quality not quantity … but on the face of it the numbers are worrying.”
As part of its reform process, the FA has promised to change the coaching culture in England, where the physical aspects of the game have long been given priority over the technical aspects.
No fewer than 800 elite-level coaches are reportedly due to be trained in the first year of operation at St. George’s Park, a process that strikes right at the heart the English game from the national team to youth football and grassroots.