Premier League to triple coaching for youngsters

LONDON - The Premier League has announced plans to at least triple the amount of coaching for promising young players in England which it hopes will eventually help improve the quality of the national team.

Under the plans, Premier League academies will provide 15 to 20 hours of coaching a week for nine to 16-year-olds instead of the current five hours, meaning youngsters would get even more coaching time than those in Germany or Netherlands.

The plan, which might also include football schools, was agreed by the 20 Premier League clubs before the World Cup in which England produced their worst ever performance, League chief executive Richard Scudamore told reporters on Tuesday.

England were thrashed 4-1 by Germany in the second round having scraped through the group stage with just one win.

"There were 222 English-qualified players who played first-team football in the Premier League last season and we believe that is enough to find 11 to perform in international competition," he said.

"But what we really want is an England manager who is spoiled for choice. We sensed it before this World Cup. There wasn't a huge debate about the (30-man) squad - there was a little bit when the manager reduced it down to 23.

THE OBJECTIVE

"What we really want in the build-up to major tournaments is to have 40, 50, 60 players in contention to get on the plane, that's really the objective rather than what looks a fairly self-selecting group."

He added: "I can envisage a day where in the north-west of England we have a Premier League school where a number of clubs have their boys.

"Or perhaps a sports school in London where a number of sports get together and have a school for elite athletes, whether it be swimmers, runners, rugby players or whatever.

Ged Roddy, the Premier League's director of youth development, added that the average 18-year-old at Ajax Amsterdam gets 6,000 hours of 'contact time' with coaches compared to 2,500 for the equivalent player in England.

"We have lagged behind and we need to reconstruct the system," said Roddy, who added that the aim was to have about 10,000 hours of contact time in future.

"That is what is needed to create an elite international footballer," he said.

The Football Association oversees youth development in England and the Premier League's plans are part of the overall development for elite youngsters in the country.

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