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Oct 8, 2012

Neville: St George's no quick fix

England coach Gary Neville says St George's Park is not a quick fix and that it will take time for it to bear fruit.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will officially open the Football Association's new £100 million state-of-the-art coaching facilities in Burton on Tuesday.

It is hoped the centre will trigger across-the-board improvement of the English game by offering a space for coaches and ensuring the grassroots game has access to the best possible facilities, as well being the training base for every level of the national team.

However, former England international Neville, who was at the centre on Monday leading a training session for local youngsters, believes people should not get too carried away by expecting too much too soon.

"There is no quick fix,'' Neville said. "People will be sceptical about St George's Park, as they are about everything in life. But you don't just pluck a player from the top of a tree.

"We know the percentage number of English players is decreasing. The only way to get that back is by supporting the grass roots of the game. You may only get the benefits from initiatives like this in the next five years and beyond. It is about dealing with children. We want the kids to get the correct information to become better players and better people.''

The former Manchester United right back won 85 caps for his country as well as winning countless trophies at his club, yet he has never forgotten how he started out and nor does he underestimate the importance of coaches in a young player's development.

"I was very lucky,'' Neville said. "In my formative years at school and with my Saturday and Sunday teams I was surrounded by people who had a good understanding of the game.

"A lot of fans do understand what is happening. But the idea of how to deliver it is completely different. We have to make sure we expose as many people to the park to get more and better coaches.

"It is not the knowledge base. It is how you get it into the children. You must have patience. You've got to repeat your message continuously. The best coaches I had worked to the theory of repetition. You need to promote simple messages consistently. You can't complicate coaching.''

After the grand opening in Burton on Tuesday, attention will be turned to London for the national side's World Cup qualifying clash with San Marino at Wembley on Friday.

"It is a huge week for the FA,'' Neville added. "It has been a long-term ambition to have a National Football Centre and this is the best I have seen. "The quality of the facility and the scale of it is absolutely wonderful. It will support the England team on Friday. But it is the long term that is most important.''


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