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Brooking looks at England youth development

Sir Trevor Brooking has admitted he is worried about the current drought in quality at youth level in the English game.

With England perilously close to missing out on qualification to Euro 2008, discussion has been rife over the quality of England's players.

However, Brooking does not feel that the problem lies with the recruitment of players from abroad.

The FA's director of football development believes that coaching at youth level is not up to scratch, and insists that action needs to be taken immediately. "The biggest emergency is to 'educate educators'," he told France Football.

"That doesn't only mean we need to convince more older players of a high level to become coaches, but we need to also enlarge the possibilities offered to those who want to become coaches.

"We have a lack of quality in the five to 11-year-old groups. I'm not talking about the kids, but the coaches. We don't have coaches with qualities to work with players of such ages.

"We realised the 12 to 13-year-olds have a lot of difficulties to technically adapt to match situations. On an individual level, they can have talent. But no one has ever been present to lead them, as you do in France.

"One consequence is we have not produced enough 16-year-old players good enough to become professionals. We have big gaps in some positions: goalkeeper for example, few forwards, and even few full-backs that can be at ease in attacking situations. "The financial means of the Premier League clubs can allow them to attract the best 16-year-old players from all the rest of the world.

"It is possible our academies will produce world champions in five or six years, but not with England!

"However, our 15 or 16-year-old youngsters are not good enough on technical level, so I can understand the managers in the clubs.

"Three English clubs reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals last season and hardly a third of the players were English.

"The situation is worrying. But only by working from the basis we will be able to shape elite players capable to represent our country with dignity."

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