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Bernstein aware of England deficiencies

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Jun 2012

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Football Association chairman David Bernstein has acknowledged England’s technical shortcomings following their Euro 2012 exit.

Roy Hodgson’s side defied gloomy pre-tournament predictions to reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA showcase in Poland and Ukraine.

But they were largely outplayed in three of their four matches, seeing little of the ball against France, Ukraine and during their 0-0 draw with Italy on Sunday, a match which ended in a 4-2 penalty shootout defeat.

“We all know there are certain shortcomings in the way we play our game and we need to move forward in that, but that’s not a lesson we’ve learnt today – we knew that before,” Bernstein said.

The St George’s Park National Football Centre in Burton-on-Trent is due to open later this year, and Bernstein hopes a dedicated centre for educating coaches and developing elite youngsters can help transform England’s fortunes in the future.

“The opening of the national football centre this year is a terribly important thing going forward,” he said.

“In the youth development scheme the emphasis now is on small-sided football, skill-based football, passing the ball, less emphasis on physicality, all those things which are (on) our agenda already.

“This is not coming from last night (Sunday), we’ve worked on this for years, but I think these things are coming to fruition now, so I do expect to see improvements – but it won’t happen overnight.”

Despite England’s disappointing exit from the European Championships, Bernstein praised the impact of manager Hodgson, who was only appointed to the role in May 1.

“I think Roy has made a real impact very, very quickly, just the sort of thing we thought he’d do. His organisational skills are very clear,” he said.

“He was dealt not the easiest hand at such an early stage but I think he’s played it very well, and I think there are positives and I think we have a good base to move forward from.

“The qualities we thought he’d bring, he clearly is bringing.

“You can ask the players and people around the squad, there’s been a great feel, and I think, compared to previous competitions, we’re a long way ahead of that, in performance as well, not just in spirit.”

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