Ipswich/Burton: David Sheepshanks believes England can compete with best teams in the world as new football centre opened by Duke of Cambridge

FORMER Town chairman David Sheepshanks believes the new National Football Centre in Burton will lead to England competing with some of the best teams in the world.

Sheepshanks was speaking as the Duke of Cambridge, joined by his wife the Duchess of Cambridge, formally opened the �105million St George’s Park project in Burton.

The project was first mooted about a decade ago and the aim is for the 330 acre complex to produce more and higher quality coaches – and with it better players to give England the best chance of becoming a major footballing force.

Long term investment of a similar nature by France and Spain at their respective bases in Clairefontaine and Madrid was key to their recent World Cup and European Championship success.

William, who is president of the Football Association, said: “Coming here and seeing these wonderful facilities gives the same feeling as when I first went to the Olympic Park.

“It gives me great pride we have created in this country facilities that are beyond compare anywhere else.

“St George’s Park is a concept totally new. It will provide more than just world class facilities for our national team and more than a university from which hundreds of coaches will graduate.

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“It will provide employment and a social hub for local people and will foster community spirit and purpose and hope throughout England.”

David Sheepshanks, the chairman of St George’s Park, has high hopes for what it can do for the English game.

He said: “We are investing in the future and the long term success of the England side with St George’s Park.

“Now is just the beginning. We hope for quicker returns but this is an investment for the long term.

“The full benefits will be seen in a decade or so.

“That is what we have to believe and it comes down to better coaches making better players.

“We hope to increase significantly the number of higher level coaches – UEFA A, B and pro-licence – because as things stand we are well behind the likes of Spain, Italy and Germany numerically.”