Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier believes the St George's Park National Football Centre will be the catalyst for improvement in English football.
Houllier played a key role in the development of the French academy at Clairefontaine which boasts a host of Barclays Premier League players amongst its alumni with the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Alou Diaby, William Gallas and Louis Saha all passing through, while Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka also attended.
Houllier is convinced St George's Park, the FA's Clairefontaine equivalent which opened earlier this year in Burton-upon-Trent, will benefit the English game, and said: "To me it is a massive achievement and improvement for English football. We entered Clairefontaine in 1988 and the team became World champions in 1998, it is not only a coincidence."
He went on: "I think once you have a tool of that dimension it brings unity to the national teams, even referees can train there, national teams from youngsters to the first-team."
Houllier, talking at the publication of the Castrol LMA European Managers Survey 2012, believes having a focal point for all levels of the game can be of huge benefit to both players and coaches.
He said: "It brings a unity of place for the coaching and also for the coaches' education and a unity of place for the philosophy and the type of football you want to implement.
"You have the fields and everything to use and to show, instead of running from training ground to training ground, hotel to hotel.
"I think that once you have that you are bound to improve if it is used in the proper way."
- Sports & Recreation
- Hatem Ben Arfa