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Brooking faces Mawhinney backlash

Sir Trevor Brooking
Brooking, who turned 60 recently, believes the FA should be doing more

Sir Trevor Brooking has come under fire from Football League chairman Lord Brian Mawhinney following his criticism of youth development in England.

Brooking, the Football Association's director of football, hit out at falling standards across the country, even blaming his own organisation.

But Mawhinney said any attack on the Football League was "unjustified".

He added: "The scattergun approach of his criticism is seriously starting to undermine our confidence in him."

Mawhinney said Brooking needed to address any shortcomings of his own before taking anyone else to task.

"Sir Trevor has been banging on about this for two-and-a-half years," he said.

"Somebody has to ask themselves why nobody has responded to him, including his employers, but I can tell you the Football League is running out of patience with him."

Mawhinney, who is also on the FA board, insisted the Football League recognises the importance of investing in young talent and would be spending at least 30m this season to help improve standards.

I wouldn't want anyone listening to Trevor to think this was just a paralysed situation

Lord Brian Mawhinney

"There has been a huge development in commitment to youth development over the last couple of years, most of it financed by Football League clubs," he told Radio 5 Live.

"I wouldn't want anyone listening to Trevor to think this was just a paralysed situation."

In a frank interview for Radio 5 Live, Brooking claimed England is continuing to fall behind the rest of the world when it comes to generating stars of the future and said the FA had failed to provide the proper coaching infrastructure for clubs to tap into.

"We've been treading water for two-and-a-half years," said the 60-year-old. "There is more money in the game than ever before, but I don't see us, in 10 years' time, having capitalised on it.

"We should have better depth of young English players. We are not maximising our opportunities."

He also admitted he was frustrated at his own inability to implement initiatives but claimed he has been denied access to key FA meetings.

For the last two-and-a-half years there has been a vacuum

Sir Trevor Brooking

"I want to have an effect with the 5-11 and 11-16 age groups. That's where the gulf is with the rest of the world."

He added: "We've got some fantastic examples of good work going on. Having said that, there are some clubs that are not so good.

"What we would want to try to do, as the governing body, is to support them much better, to go out and do in-service stuff and let them know what's happening in the bigger clubs.

"That is the sort of service the governing body, but for the last two-and-a-half years there has been a vacuum.

"We would like to give much better support than we are giving. I think as a governing body at the moment, we are not giving enough."

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor joined Brooking in expressing his concern about the lack of English youngsters in the professional game.

Of the 600 boys who join clubs aged 16, he said, a large percentage fail to establish themselves at senior level.

"They don't get the chance to play for the first team, so there's a vacuum where they disappear into," said Taylor. "By the time they are aged 21, 500 of those lads have gone out of the game."

Taylor cited the influx of foreign players into the English game as a major reason for managers not sticking with homegrown talent.

"Managers are so concerned about their security, so they very rarely have the time and patience to stick with young players," he said.

"They want instant ready-made players and there's a network of agents who can provide that from abroad."

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see also
Burton 'vital to England success'
18 Dec 07 |  Football
Brooking urges coaching overhaul
18 Dec 07 |  Football
Brooking fears for England future
03 Sep 07 |  Football
Crewe boss voices academy fears
08 Feb 07 |  Football
Football factory or money pit?
08 Feb 07 |  Football
Brooking to take FA role
27 Nov 03 |  England

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