Steven Pressley believes Scots must follow England’s model
FALKIRK manager Steven Pressley insists Scotland must take a leaf out of the Auld Enemy’s book or be doomed to a cycle of mediocrity.
England this week formally unveiled their £100 million centre of excellence in Burton, St George’s Park, which will oversee the training of coaches and players alike, while providing a state-of-the-art base for the national side. By contrast, in preparation for two pivotal World Cup qualifiers this week, Craig Levein oversaw Scottish training at Cappielow, home of First Division Greenock Morton.
Levein has come under increasing pressure following successive draws against Serbia and Macedonia to kick off the quest to reach Brazil 2014. Failure to reach the World Cup would guarantee the major tournament drought will stretch to at least 18 years.
However, Pressley believes the woeful under-funding of the country’s national sport, by the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish Executive, is to blame for the national side’s struggles – not Levein.
The Falkirk manager said: “England’s new training centre is terrific and they’re talking about educating coaches and developing them. We need something like that in Scotland to propel our game on to the next level.
“I’m envious when I see the footage of that. There must be serious investment into a centre of excellence in Scotland where we can develop the next generation of players and coaches.
“You need significant training pitches, office space and indoor facilities. When you see some of the government spending in other areas – look at the trams in Edinburgh – then it would be peanuts in comparison.
“During my time as an international player, we trained at Dumbarton, and the environment wasn’t conducive to a top national team. Under George Burley’s rein we trained at Pollok Juniors. Now it’s Cappielow. It’s up to the government and the SFA to fund a change.
“We need to address the real problem, which isn’t the manager, it’s how we play football and how we develop the players.
“Craig Levein is a terrific manager; one of the best I have ever worked under. What he has implemented is for the long-term good of Scottish football, but it’s not going to change tomorrow.”
Despite pleading for focus on the bigger picture, Pressley, capped 32 times for Scotland, acknowledges that failure to win in Cardiff tomorrow evening while heap further pressure on to Levein.
He added: “I won’t be critical of fans. The reality is that as footballers you have to accept a degree of responsibility, and also that you play for your national team under pressure. But I would like to see a real understanding of what our country needs and for our country to unite.”
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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