England's 68,000 coaches left in the dust
St George's Park today celebrates its first birthday but when it comes to qualified coaches England are still being left behind in the dust with a staggering 68,000 not recognised by UEFA.
England captain Steven Gerrard led the celebrations at the FA's national football centre in Burton, which plays host to 24 various Three Lions teams from all age levels.
However statistics from European football's governing body show England have just 1,161 elite coaches compared to Spain's 12,700 and 5,500 from Germany.
Rebuilding England: Club Focus
- With safe passage to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil still yet to be secured going into the final two qualifiers, all week long ESPN FC are exploring England's dwindling number of homegrown stars in the Premier League in a series of features that explain the problem, the current climate and the way forward:
- Lomas: Time to pluck the golden goose?
- Marcotti: Too much too young
- Brewin: England stuck in the middle
"There is a real myth about the true number of English coaches out there," said head of FA learning Jamie Houchen.
"In the last 10 years, England has delivered more grass-roots coaching qualifications than any other European country.
"UEFA deals in A and B licences for coaches. At the FA we have developed our own pathway which we have refined for our own needs - Level One and Two certificates - but UEFA don't include the latter within their figures.
"That's why we have close to 70,000 coaches at a level which slips under the UEFA radar.
"An English coach was sometimes perceived as a cheap babysitter.
"We've had to turn around that culture and I'm confident we stand shoulder to shoulder with any European nation in terms of the number of coaches we educate each year."
Download ESPN's new UK sport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.