No more freezing against Iceland: how England are hot on fortifying the mind | Paul MacInnes

No more freezing against Iceland: how England are hot on fortifying the mind | Paul MacInnes

27-Dec-2017 10:00:14 | Guardian

The coaching blueprint for five to 11-year-olds being implemented by the FA’s Pete Sturgess includes ways of preventing international players of the future from crumbling in the face of psychological pressure

“Do you know what?” says Pete Sturgess. “One of the things we were able to put to bed this summer was the horrible statement, and it was embarrassing, that English players aren’t technical enough. I think that has changed now. I see them here, right from the under-nines. We’ve got a generation of players who are technically on a par with anything.”

In the first instance, it seems fair to take Sturgess at his word. If anyone is in a position to appraise the next generation of English footballers (and the one after that), it’s him. He is the Football Association’s national lead on the foundation phase, charged with creating and rolling out a coaching blueprint that will affect every child who wants to play the game. His plan for five- to 11-year-olds is implemented in schools and grassroots clubs and in conjunction with professional academies. It is also a first and vital step in creating what the FA means by the England DNA.

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