FA get technical in pursuit of glory

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Football News

The Football Association will appoint a technical director for the first time in a decade as they continue to formulate plans to build a national side capable of winning honours on the global stage.

Howard Wilkinson was the last person to hold the role as technical director with the FA on a permanent basis, before he left the position to take up the vacant Sunderland manager's post in 2002.

The former Leeds boss was then succeeded by Les Reed in an acting capacity for two more years, before the position was abandoned.

But with the FA's new national football centre scheduled to open its doors in the summer, another technical director will be hired and will head up operations at St George's Park near Burton-upon-Trent.

The new technical director is required to report to Sir Trevor Brooking - the FA's director of football development - and will be tasked with leading the drive to make St George's Park, among other things, a centre of excellence for coaches.

"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," said FA general secretary Alex Horne.

The successful candidate is required to have a Uefa Pro Licence or equivalent, and is expected to suit a manager boasting a wealth of experience.

Their work will form part of the FA's pledge to raise the standards both at elite and grassroots level, with the hope of eventually building a senior England side capable of winning the World Cup.

Working with Premier League and Football League representatives on the delivery of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) will also fall under the technical director's remit, although the proposal has been met with opposition from some clubs.

Late last year, Football League clubs voted to abolish the tribunal system that sets fees when clubs fail to a agree a transfer for home-grown players that have come through their academies.

However, if clubs had opted against the EPPP proposals, the annual funding they receive from the Premier League for development of youth - over £5 million each season - would have been withheld.

Many clubs, though, fear that the current tribunal procedure will be replaced by fixed prices, which means they will be entitled to less compensation when losing their most talented youngsters to more high-profile sides.

The FA, of course, believe in the positives of EPPP, and the technical director will play a key role in the nurturing of youngsters through a more dedicated coaching development programme.

These changes were prompted by England's miserable performance at the 2010 World Cup, and have been made after studying the ways in which other countries operate at the elite level.

The model that the FA would most like to replicate, of course, is that of Spain, who have created one of the most formidable international sides in history thanks to a more dedicated and technical approach at grassroots level.

"They [Spain] won the Under-19s in 2006 and 2007, went on to win the European Championship and then the World Cup," Brooking told the BBC last year when the FA initially released their development proposals.

"We're not that far behind them technically and we know what we're aiming for."

He added: "We have not won anything for 44 years and I am not saying these changes will make us world champions overnight.

"But we must improve the way we develop our young players and the way they are coached from the age of five to 16 and beyond.

"We need to develop more and better English players and hopefully they will eventually break into the first teams of our elite clubs and into the international team."

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