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By ESPN Staff

Brooking: Long-ball tactics won't help England

Sir Trevor Brooking has declared English football must abandon the long-ball game if it is to prosper at international level.

Brooking, the FA's director of football development, believes there is still too much emphasis on direct football, especially at youth level.

He said: ''The game over the last five years has changed. You keep the ball on the ground 25%-30% more than you did five years ago. The players have got to change. You have to start this in the five-to-11 age group.

''Even at the professional level the best players are never to going to come though with that style of play so you have to change the philosophy at the lower age groups.

''We have to bring our younger players up to a much higher level. If you are going to play for any of our England development teams the message is you are going to have to play this way.''

Brooking, speaking at the launch of plans for the £100 million home for English football at Burton-on-Trent, said technical studies of other successful countries had highlighted the reliance on English youth teams playing the percentage game.

He added: ''We have got some great DVDs from Brazil and Spain and everything is now about playing out from the back. If you have one or two gems in a team and you suddenly launch the ball long because you want to win most of your games then by the time they get to the age of 15 they will have been lost from the game.

''The technical players will have gone out of it because of the style you are playing.''

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