England captain Steven Gerrard 'blown away' by St George's Park

 

Skipper Steven Gerrard insists England will have no excuses for future under-achievement now the National Football Centre has become their new home.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially opened the impressive £105million complex near Burton-on-Trent after meeting head coach Roy Hodgson and members of the England squad.

The project, which was first mooted more than a decade ago, has already created a favourable impression with Gerrard ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier with San Marino at Wembley.

The Liverpool star said: "The place has blown me away. All the lads are buzzing to be here. We're lucky to have facilities like this.

"It's a long-term plan and hopefully it can bring success to the national teams.

"Now we've got the best stadium in the world (in Wembley) and the best facilities. We're taking away all the excuses the players might use in the future."

Head coach Roy Hodgson believes the complex can only help England's hopes of tournament glory.

He said: "Facilities, in themselves, don't make you a better football team. What makes you better is the work you do within them.

"But the players will be really happy to do their work here. We have to forget the past. We can't win a World Cup yesterday.

"As soon as we start working towards a World Cup we can win, the better - and I'm rather hoping the amount of effort and work we'll put in will lead us to that World Cup victory."

William, who shared a joke with left-back Ashley Cole, also took immense pride from the facilities which form the 330-acre site.

He said: "It gives me great pride we have created in this country facilities that are beyond compare anywhere else.

"St George's Park is a concept totally new. It will provide more than just world-class facilities for our national team and more than a university from which hundreds of coaches will graduate.

"It will provide employment and a social hub for local people and will foster community spirit and purpose and hope throughout England."

St George's Park chairman David Sheepshanks has stressed the need to produce more coaches and of a higher quality to get the best out of English footballing talent.

But Sheepshanks is aware the benefits of the facilities will be mainly felt long-term and hopes it will eventually lead to more English managers being given an opportunity in the professional game.

He said: "If you were starting an educational establishment or a new school, do you start with the pupils or the teachers?

"You have to invest in the teachers. They have to have something extra to impart to the players and this is where St George's Park comes in.

"Between now and 2020, we'll develop another 250,000 coaches altogether across all the levels. At the top level, we're focused on quality not quantity.

"We're talking about another 120 Uefa Pro Licence coaches over the next eight years, an average of 15-20 a year at the very, very top level."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there