Roxburgh urges English to catch up on coaching

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The Independent Football

Uefa's technical director, Andy Roxburgh, believes Paul Ince will be one of the last Premier League managers to operate without a Pro Licence as England catches up with coaching standards in Europe. Ince, who will be unveiled today as manager of Blackburn Rovers, has been given two years to attain the qualification required to coach in the top flight, which Roxburgh feels reflects England's traditionally different attitude to management from the rest of the continent.

English clubs would risk being thrown out of European competition if they employ underqualified managers but Roxburgh, a former Scotland manager, is confident the licence will eventually become a normal part of the learning process.

"From a European perspective the licensing system has to be approved," said Roxburgh, who helped bring in the licence after being appointed by Uefa in 1994. "The Premier League and the Football Association have to try to find a solution here because from our point of view at Uefa, if a club hasn't got a licence then they cannot take part in European competition.

"I'm dealing with 53 countries and I only get these questions from England. No one else discusses it with us. It is a purely English phenomenon. But in 10 years it should be embedded."

The League Managers' Association has confirmed it has given Ince its backing even though he does not hold the Pro Licence.

Ince's appointment makes him the first black British manager in the top flight, and his move to Blackburn was welcomed by Piara Power, director of anti-racism organisation Kick It Out. "The current situation with just two black coaches at 92 clubs set against a third of the playing workforce from a black Caribbean or African background shames the game," he said. "A black face at the top is a powerful signal of what is possible."