St George's can deliver, says Pearce

Under-21 manager thinks new national centre will help England end their 45-year trophy drought

Stuart Pearce thinks the Football Association's new St George's Park facility will prove to be a vital part of England's quest to end their 45-year wait to win a major international competition.

Eight years after plans were announced for a permanent base for the England team, building at the National Football Centre is close to completion and the national team will be based there during the qualification period for the next World Cup.

With 12 pitches and cutting edge sports medicine and sports science facilities, the 330-acre site at Burton-upon-Trent will be England's answer to the Clairefontaine centre credited with bringing through France's best players over the last two decades.

Arsène Wenger and Jose Mourinho have said in the past that they were astounded to hear that England, a team who have not lifted the World Cup since 1966, do not have a national centre, unlike almost all the other major footballing nations in Europe.

Pearce, who tasted semi-final defeat as a player at Italia '90 and Euro '96, thinks St George's Park could make a huge difference in the country's push for success on the international stage.

"I think St George's Park could be the one single thing that could push us on, possibly for the next 100 years. It's that exciting a project," Pearce said. "When I first came in to the organisation, I had problems. The analysis department was based in Liverpool, the conditioning department was based somewhere else, and as a manager you wouldn't accept that at any club so why should we accept it at the elite end of football in this country? To have everyone under the same roof, to be able to invite young players in for coaching weekends, to be able to support our players and managers within this country to develop all under one roof, one venue, will be absolutely outstanding."

Pearce, England's Under-21 manager, has ruled himself out of the running to take over from Fabio Capello as full England manager when the Italian's tenure comes to an end next summer.

The FA would prefer to install a home-grown manager, but other than Harry Redknapp and Roy Hodgson, there are no real contenders for the position.

St George's Park is also designed to act as a base for the development of English coaches and Pearce hopes it can play a role in ending the need to appoint a foreigner as national head coach.

"It's vitally important that we keep developing English coaches and English managers," the 49-year-old said. "Every time the England manager's job comes up, we should have 10 candidates who have great CVs that can do the job. It's vital that we better the standard of coaching in this country."

Pearce has given his backing to the FA's Licensed Coaches' Club initiative, which was launched at Wembley yesterday. The scheme allows coaches from across the country to get discounted access to courses and classes with the aim of improving the quality of coaching in England.

"This idea is vital," said Pearce. "The better the standard of coaching, the better standard of player we get to work with. "We can all develop together,the players and the coaches."

Meanwhile, England have criticised as a "scare story" reports that the team's training base in Poland for Euro 2012 is dilapidated and not fit for purpose.

England will be using the ground of fourth division Hutnik Nowa Huta as their base in Poland for at least three games – against France, Ukraine and Sweden. Club England managing director Adrian Bevington admits the facilities are not up to standard but insisted they will be ready for when the players arrive before the tournament. A national newspaper reported the ground in Krakow is "barely fit for a pub team" and describes the dressing room and medical facilities as "a shambles". Pictures show rubble-strewn dressing rooms and showers.

But Bevington said on his Twitter account: "We have a pitch specialist company who work with Fifa and Uefa working on our training pitch – it will be fine."

He added: "Pre-tournament base camp scare story. V predictable. Training pitch isn't good but will be in June."

England's group games will all be in Ukraine with matches against France and Ukraine in Donetsk as well as a trip to Kiev to play Sweden with their journeys totalling 5,000 miles.

Should they reach the latter stages of the tournament they would face two more trips to Donetsk for the quarter and semi-finals.

Yet Capello, who chose a city centre location in Krakow after what Bevington described yesterday as a 14-month search which ended with the Italian adamant his side would prepare better in Poland, refused to entertain any thought of a change following last Friday's draw. "Absolutely not," he said.

"I am happy with Krakow. When we played in Ukraine, we arrived the day before. That was a long trip from London. When we played Montenegro we did the same.

"I prefer to play in Krakow because the facilities are really good. The players will be happy with the hotel and the training."

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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea