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News & Comment

FA casts net wide for technical supremo


The Football Association will not confine its appointment process of a new technical director to English candidates, opening the possibility that the high-profile position could go to a foreign coach, or manager.

The job spec for the new post, which has stayed vacant for 10 years, was announced by the FA yesterday with the expectation that the successful candidate will have a wide-ranging brief to change English football. As with all high-profile FA appointments, from the England manager to the chairman of the organisation, it will require a great deal of diplomacy to deal with the Premier League's most powerful clubs.

The technical director, the first since Howard Wilkinson left to manage Sunderland, will be based at St George's Park, the FA's new football centre near Burton upon Trent which opens at the start of next season. The remit will be "to raise the standards of both the elite and grass-roots game in England".

The FA expects a lot of applications for the role. The likes of Steve McClaren and Roy Hodgson are sure to be considered. Whether itwould suit them at this stage given their respective careers in club management remains to be seen.

The technical director will be in charge of the coaching education programme at St George's Park, the park's primary responsibility, alongside Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA director of football development. The centre will also have what the FA described as "world-class facilities in performance analysis, sports science and medicine, psychology, scouting and recruitment".

The England senior team will prepare for matches at St George's Park, as will the FA's other 23 representative teams. It will not be a residential academy for elite junior footballers – a role that the clubs guard closely. Alex Horne, the FA general secretary, said: "The role of technical director will be crucial as we continue to strive towards improving the technical ability and knowledge of our players and coaches."