James Lawton: Brooking's schooling beyond reproach

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The Independent Online

Trevor Brooking's appointment as director of football by the Football Association was quite savagely attacked by professionals within the game. Some were aghast that he lacked coaching certificates.

Trevor Brooking's appointment as director of football by the Football Association was quite savagely attacked by professionals within the game. Some were aghast that he lacked coaching certificates.

Yet in his first significant move he announces himself as the man intent on changing the coaching culture within the FA. Les Read, the increasingly powerful stand-in for former director, Howard Wilkinson, represented the academic wing of the game. He believed that future England managers could be groomed from within the FA rather than made in the heat of the real action of organising and shaping professional players.

That policy received a major blow when the first candidate for such a graduation process, Under 21-coach David Platt, was fired.

The second hit came when Brooking told Read that his services were no longer required. Where is Brooking coming from? A superb career as a player at the top of the game - and the early tutelage of one of English football's best thinkers, Ron Greenwood.

Coaching certificates say that you can organise a training session, perhaps with wit and imagination, or maybe just an understanding of a workable formula. But they do not tell you how to get pros to win big games. In recognising this, and acting upon it, Brooking deserves the gratitude of every serious professional. For generations the best of their knowledge has been dismissed. It is a scandal that has finally been addressed.

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