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Sir Trevor Brooking reveals FA's youth masterplan


Brooking outlines FA youth policy

By Dan Roan
BBC Sports News Correspondent

The Football Association has set out its vision for the future of youth development after a review conducted following England's World Cup failure.

Director of football Sir Trevor Brooking and general secretary Alex Horne have made 25 proposals with the aim of producing better young players.

"These recommendations form the basis of our outlook of our national game for years to come," said Brooking.

The proposals have been approved by the FA board and council.

If the plans are ratified in the coming months they will herald a change to formats and facilities within grassroots youth football, making coaching more professional, and strengthen international team development.

Downcast England players

Highlights as England exit the World Cup with a 4-1 defeat to Germany

The ideas are designed to complement the Future Game document that the FA published last year, detailing the governing body's blueprint for the way football should be played.

The FA wants to build stronger relationships between its representative teams and professional clubs.

This includes a recommendation for mandatory release of players by clubs for England teams at all age levels, in an attempt to ensure better chances of success at international tournaments, including next summer's Uefa Under-19 and Under-21 events, and the Fifa Under-20 World Cup.

A row threatened to erupt last year when England looked set to be denied five key players - including John Bostock of Spurs and Aston Villa's Nathan Delfouneso - for the European Under-19 Championship.

The FA now wants to get tougher when it comes to skirmishes between club and country.

In theory, the new rule could allow the FA to demand the release of a player like Jack Wilshere of Arsenal for the Under-21 European Championship in Denmark and the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia, despite anticipated opposition from his manager Arsene Wenger.

Brooking also confirmed that the FA is on the verge of appointing an English coach as "elite development coach" to work across the younger age groups, although he will not be part of England manager Fabio Capello's backroom team as originally intended.

we must improve the way we develop our young players and the way they are coached from the age of five to 16 and beyond

Sir Trevor Brooking

Former England defender and Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate is the favourite to be hired.

"We hope to appoint next week," said Brooking.

The FA is hoping to start a new era in its coaching development programme, which will be based at their new St George's Park training HQ in Burton.

As well as establishing a coaches' academy network and licensing scheme, there will be significant changes to the way youth football is played, with reductions in the size of pitch, goal and teams to encourage better technical development and more ball-contact time.

The age at which youngsters are allowed to play competitive league football will be raised by three years, from Under-9 to Under-12, a proposal that the FA fears will meet resistance from many parents and coaches.

"We have not won anything for 44 years and I am not saying these changes will make us world champions overnight," said Brooking.

"But we must improve the way we develop our young players and the way they are coached from the age of five to 16 and beyond.

"We need to develop more and better English players and hopefully they will eventually break into the first teams of our elite clubs and into the international team."

England have enjoyed some success in Uefa's age-group tournaments, winning the Under-17 title last year and finishing runners-up in the Under-19 and Under-21 tournaments in 2009 but Brooking said emulating world and European champions Spain was also key.

"They [Spain] won the Under-19s in 2006 and 2007, went on to win the European Championship and then the World Cup. We're not that far behind them technically and we know what we're aiming for."

The FA's 25-point plan is intended to work in conjunction with the Premier League's Elite Player Performance Plan, a radical overhaul of elite youth development that is expected to be voted through in the summer in time for next season.

The plan will see an Under-21 development league replacing reserve team football, a freeing up of the movement of young players and the setting up of an independent standards authority which will monitor and rank the academies of clubs across the country.

"There is now more co-operation between the two organisations over youth development than at any time I've known," said Brooking.

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see also
FA eyes homegrown England coach
16 Jul 10 |  Football
Where do England go from here?
14 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Pressure on FA after England exit
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
The real state of English coaching
07 Jul 10 |  Football

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