Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Making a Pitch to Be Stars of Future; New Facilities Will Help North Talent Grow

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Making a Pitch to Be Stars of Future; New Facilities Will Help North Talent Grow

Article excerpt

Byline: Alastair Craig

THEY are new pitches where hopes are alive that England World Cup stars of the future will flourish.

Former England and West Ham midfielder Sir Trevor Brooking was in the region to open the latest training hotbed for prodigious young talent.

A new pounds 1.8m sporting facility, the Russell Foster Football Centre, in Newbottle Houghton-le-Spring, County Durham, was launched by Sir Trevor last night.

Among those who have made the grade from North East playing fields to fields of dreams like Wembley and Old Trafford are Manchester United star Michael Carrick and former Newcastle striker Andy Carroll.

With around 14,000 members the Russell Foster Tyne and Wear Youth League is the largest youth league in the country.

And with the provision of new state-of-the-art facilities numbers are expected to continue to rise.

Sir Trevor, the FA's director of football development, told The Journal: "It's so important for the future of the game in this country to stoke excitement and enjoyment of the game in all the regions.

"The North East has a tremendous tradition for supplying the nation with top players.

"It is centres like this that create enthusiasm among young people for the sport, and which, might, just might, one day develop the next England star of the future."

The new facility, which was funded thanks in part to a pounds 988,869 grant from the Football Foundation, will provide a headquarters for the Russell Foster Tyne and Wear Youth League.

The league, which has been in existence since 1975, draws teams from as far as the River Tyne in the North, Hartlepool in the South and Consett in the West. Many famous professional players have started their careers playing in the one of the league's teams and, in the last England game at Wembley, there were five players on the pitch to have come through the ranks - Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson, Stuart Downing, Adam Johnstone and Michael Carrick.

Henderson, a star midfielder for Sunderland, said: "The most important thing about football when you're young is enjoying it.

"After that, if the talent is there, it will always shine through in the end. …

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