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Trevor Brooking: 'England will qualify for Euros but will they compete?'


Sir Trevor Brooking

Sir Trevor Brooking

Sir Trevor Brooking

England's future is in a safe pair of hands with Roy Hodgson and the long-term target of winning the 2020 European Championships remains, according to retiring Football Association director of football development Trevor Brooking.

Hodgson's faith in youth was rewarded with a 2-0 win away to Switzerland in the opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Switzerland, where new Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck scored a brace and Liverpool youngster Raheem Sterling again impressed going forwards.

Brooking hopes after the disappointments of dismal summer for the Three Lions at the 2014 World Cup, he will be able to enjoy his retirement by seeing the likes of young English talent such as Arsenal centre-back Calum Chambers, signed from Southampton, Everton duo Ross Barkley and John Stones as well as Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all develop into senior internationals within a competitive side.

"We have got have a better depth at 16 who will break into the first team, and we are starting to see that, but if you are Roy you want them in five or 10 years time to have a better depth of talent and we will get there now because we have made a lot of progress on the structure and have almost just got to let it happen with the people we have appointed in the restructuring over the past couple of years," Brooking told Press Association Sport at the Houses of Parliament, where he helped mark the sixth millionth place on the FA Skills Programme.

"The group (of young players) interacted really well (during the World Cup), there was good comradery and there is a sort of club atmosphere within the structure, and that came good in Switzerland.

"Roy has known if he encourages that and brings those players through, there is no greater incentive to know there is a senior coach who will give them a chance if they have that promise.

"For me, it is in safe hands. In 2016, we should qualify, but will we be ready to compete? Let's see who is available and has come through.

"We have just got to be patient and over the next 18 months if an opportunity with Roy and Gareth (Southgate) in the under-21s to work together and really start to build that long-term senior squad which is going to be competitive.

"Twenty-twenty is always the one I have thought about - can we do something with that? Especially if we can get the semi-finals and finals at Wembley, which would be awesome because the group that year, from what I have seen in the 17s to 21s, would be very competitive."

Brooking (65) was joined the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport Sajid Javid and FA General Secretary Alex Horne at a Parliamentary reception to toast the continuing success of the FA Skills Programme, which is funded jointly by the Government through Sport England.

Former West Ham midfielder Brooking, who won 47 caps for England from 1974 to 1982 - was instrumental in introducing the scheme seven years ago, which identified improving coaching standards for children as key to developing the next generation and maintaining participation.

"We want to make sure all of the youngsters you see here continue to play football into their teens, which is probably the biggest challenge," he said.

"When you start to play 11 versus 11 that is when youngsters and friends can come brutal, with people telling you that you are hopeless and cannot play.

"So we have to make sure from 5-11, that children have a technical base to play the game longer term and then they will stay in the game."

PA Media