Hi Jamie, Good to hear from you. I have answered the questions below and good luck in the future.
Best wishes, John
1.What is your role at The FA?
My role is Head of Coaching and also England U17 Head Coach. I therefore have a major input into Coach Education from grassroots to Elite within England, as well as actively spending time on the pitch as a coach developer with one of our elite National youth teams. The lessons and research learnt from my time with players, supports the coach education system. Being able help to shape the game of the future, not only in terms of a playing philosophy, but also coach educational needs, is challenging but also very rewarding.
2. As a youth coach at national team level what kind of characteristics in a player are you looking for?
Fundamentally the game is changing – , it is faster with technical and skilful development now having to be done at speed, not only physically but mentally. The players we select for our International youth teams, need to be technically proficient in ball retention and be able to work in tight areas. Obviously a high percentage of good decisions need to be made within the game, with and without the ball, as we actively encourage our players to play through the thirds of the pitch, so trust and security of possession is key. At The FA we work on a Four Corner model, technical, physical, psychological and social and it is important we pay due attention to these four areas when selecting players. The recent FA publication “The Future Game” highlights quite clearly our philosophy and vision in this area and the fundamental qualities required in order to be an elite player.
3. Do you think the standard of players being produced in England is getting better?
I think we are moving in the right direction. Since the Charter for Quality document in 1997, youth development has improved enormously in this country. The new Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) which was introduced this year, will also raise the bar in respect of better coaches, more contact time with the young players and more accountability. We still need to improve, as while we have some very good young players, we do need more strength in depth. It is difficult for young players to force their way in to becoming a regular Premier League player in England , as we have a world market to deal with. English players therefore need to be able reach and sustain this standard, which is a real challenge to all of us working in youth development in this country.
4. Do you think the new St Georges park will take English football to the next Level?
The arrival of St George’s Park in July of this year has been much welcomed by all of us not just at The FA, but the game in general. We have some excellent club facilities in England, but we never had a “technical home” for the National Association until now. It will be a focal point for coach education, international teams and research. It will be world leading, so what we now have to do is strive to improve our players and coaches of the future in this outstanding facility.
5. Do you think the standard of coaching across the country at youth level is improving?
I believe there has been some major improvements over the last few years. In this past there was just one coaching pathway, which was very much aligned to the senior end of the game. Since 2009 we have developed a youth strand within the system, which focuses quite specifically in the development of the 5-16 year old players and coaches in this area. These new FA Youth Awards, of which there are three modules, represent age appropriate qualifications, focusing on the environment, needs and requirements in order to be a better coach working within the age bands of 5-11 and 12-16. We are in the process of developing a new FA Youth A Licence, which should raise the quality even further. This should be available from the summer of 2013.
For Infomation on St Georges Park and the Coaching Courses in England visit:
Here is an interview with John in 2010 with his a U17 England at a training camp.