We must coach England's coaches, says Wilkinson

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The Independent Online

The former England caretaker manager and Football Association's technical director, Howard Wilkinson, has called for a shake-up of the country's coaching system. The 62-year-old - the last home-grown manager to win the English league championship, with Leeds in 1992 - believes it is time the situation was rectified but maintains that can come only with heavy investment in restructuring the sport by its governing body.

"I do not think we as a nation have ever embraced the culture of coach education," Wilkinson said. "We are still having a debate as to whether coaches should be qualified or not - the leading nations in Europe had that debate 50 years ago. Their federations are investing in coach education... because they now recognise in the modern game it is the key to developing players.

"Coaching in this country is under threat anyway because of the invasion of foreign coaches and foreign players. The FA is not proactive enough and their coaching structure does not deal with the problem vigorously enough. The current crop of [English] players are very good, but tactically we are hide-bound by playing 4-4-2 and our players find it difficult to make subtle tactical adjustment during games.

"The FA should stand up and support what is good for English football."

Wilkinson, however, rejected the notion that limiting the number of foreign players in the Premiership would be of benefit in the long term. "You cannot go down that road, because then, in terms of England's future as an international football nation, you might as well consign it to the toilet. You have got to deal with these issues."

Steve McClaren, meanwhile, has vowed to fight on following the goalless draw with Macedonia on 7 October and the defeat in Croatia in midweek.

"I'm not even contemplating resigning," McClaren said. "And it's too early to talk about me being sacked.The job I have taken on is qualification for the European Championship in two years' time. So I feel I should be judged at the end of qualification."

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