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Brooking hails new football centre

The FA's director of football development, Sir Trevor Brooking, believes the facilities opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will play a key role in nurturing the skills required of England's next generation of stars.

Sir Trevor accompanied the royal couple during their two-hour visit to St George's Park, which he predicts will "raise the bar" for youth coaching.

Speaking as Kate and William were given a tour of a hydrotherapy pool, the former West Ham United midfielder said England footballers of all ages had been unanimous in their praise for the new facility.

Sir Trevor said: "The under-16 group came here and they are desperate to come back because it's an aspirational place.

"The senior lads thought it was magnificent - I think they were pleasantly surprised at the quality of it, but the key thing is the coaching.

"The aim is to give the coaches the knowledge to help younger players - right from five years of age up - to get a little bit better, to encourage them, to enthuse them and get comfortable with the ball."

Sir Trevor admits that encouraging youngsters to play the ball out from the back will lead to more errors, but says it will improve their skills.

"They are going to make mistakes and it's going to cost them goals, but as long as they are trying things at that age, that's what we want," he said. "This is a long-term plan to raise the bar."

Addressing dignitaries and other guests at the end of the visit, Sir Trevor thanked William - the FA's president since 2006 - and Kate for the keen interest they had shown during the official opening.

Sir Trevor said: "They are very friendly and relaxed and really put everyone at ease.

"The Duke has been like that since he became president and involved in our school coaching scheme.

"He loves to get involved and join in and the Duchess is just as relaxed as well - today has been extra-special, particularly for all of those who they spent such a long time chatting to."

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