St George’s Park is the national football centre in England and recognised by the
best players in the country. It is where the national squads train and it hosts various
events all throughout the year. This guide will give you an insight into the prestigious
facility which is used by players, academies and referees.
This was the 330-acre site in 2004. Building work was halted because of financial
worries, however resumed in 2008 with the vision of creating a world-class training
base for all England teams. It is now the centre of English football and holds a
number of courses and competitions for regular players. St. George’s Park now has
outdoor and indoor pitches, various gyms, a swimming pool and even a Hilton Hotel
to accommodate those using the facilities. Pictures and mementoes are scattered around
the complex creating a professional, yet homely, effect and the nation will be hoping
that the £105 million spent will be repaid with silverware and trophies.
St. George’s Park was opened on the 9th October 2012, just four years after the work
began. This picture shows David Sheepshanks, the chairman of St. George’s Park who
was one of the few chosen to open the facility. He envisages that “from 2020 onwards
we will have winning England teams”. This sign is located at the entrance to St.
George’s Park and shows the name as well as all of the sponsors that have contributed
to the building of this stunning complex. Sheepshanks has said that “it is the investment
in coaches that is crucial”and St. George’s Park is deliberately seen as a “long-term
This is part of the reception area at St. George’s Park. When the players arrive
to meet up with the England squad, this will normally be their first port of call.
It is fully furnished with sofas, downlighters and plenty of staff willing to assist
the players in any way they need. There are various different jobs that individuals
do at this training base. For example, groundsmen are needed to maintain the pitches,
staff are needed to clean the rooms which the players stay in and even more are needed
to maintain the high standards expected all around our National Football Centre.
Would you really expect anything less from such a prestigious facility?
This is just one of the many indoor pitches. It’s named the ‘Sir Alf Ramsey Pitch’.
Many former England managers and players have been remembered by having either pitches,
suites or specific areas named after them. It is enough to inspire all that use the
facility and it plays host to every single England football team ranging from the
senior men’s team, to the senior women’s team and even to the junior squads. There
are 24 teams overall and the complex has to accommodate more than one team at once
since an International Break often means that a number of these teams are in training
at the same time. It certainly seems a lot of hard work.
The Alan Shearer Pitch is one of the twelve full-size training pitches. St. George’s
Park also has a grass replica of the Wembley pitch which is aimed to help the England
sides prepare for home matches. Female international Kelly Smith also has a pitch
named after her, while Paul Gascoigne and Sir Bobby Charlton are two former England
heroes who have suites named after them. Peter Shilton has a goalkeeping area named
after him. He represented the England senior men’s side on one-hundred-and-twenty-five
occasions and captained the team a number of times. It provides inspiration and encourages
all players to strive for success.
This is just one of the many iconic images placed around St. George’s Park. Brian
Clough is shown with the European Cup while he was the manager at Nottingham Forest.
The aim is to simply inspire players in all squads, right from the juniors to the
seniors, as well as those coaches and officials who will also use the facility to
train. There aren’t just pictures dotted around the complex, but quotes too. Elsewhere,
the legendary American Olympian Jesse Owens has a famous line of his written on the
wall - “a lifetime of training for just 10 seconds”. It emphasises the importance
of matches and how to put in your all to receive the best results!
This is one of the many changing rooms at St. George’s Park. All England squads may
use this particular dressing room and it has space for their kit, boots, drinks and
any food which they require. On the way to this changing room, the players will see
the words “Practice Makes Permanent” written on the wall as they walk down the corridors
to this vast space. “Practice Makes Permanent” is set to inspire the players and
portray the message that the more work you put into the training sessions, the more
that the skills are drilled in to you and can be performed to a better standard.
All ages will learn from this and should aim to strive for the best.
The swimming pool here demonstrates the luxury facilities in the St. George’s Park
complex. The players can use the pool to relax, train or even help with injury recoveries
and the senior men’s squad have been pictured cooling down in here after a session.
The cutting edge facilities don’t just stop at this. There are sport science laboratories,
altitude chambers and multiple gymnasiums which are also used by the likes of coaches
and referees. The altitude chambers can prove particularly useful since players can
experience similar conditions prior to a match which is due to be played at high
altitude. It is very well thought through!
Former England manager Graham Taylor has praised these world-class facilities saying
“It’s a great facility. All the other countries have football centres. I can’t see
it being anything other than a positive”. There are eleven outdoor pitches, five
of which are floodlit and have under-floor heating, which will certainly help in
the winter months when the sun goes down early. The eleven outdoor pitches will be
more than enough to accommodate all England teams when they’re on an international
break. Pitches can also be hired out for special events and are used for particular
events and functions. It is the centre of English football and recognised nationally.
This is The Hilton Hotel which is on site. It’s handy location means players can
easily return after training while a high level of privacy is maintained. As well
as a number of bedrooms, the hotel contains a games room and many private dining
areas. The England women’s player Casey Stoney believes that it will help the players
enormously since it will save time otherwise needed for travelling. She said "I
think it’s fantastic, the fact you don’t have to travel on a coach for a half an
hour or so means you get more rest and recovery”. The hotel has many pictures, in
the rooms, reception and even the dining areas, in order to inspire all that stay
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were invited to open St. George’s Park in October
2012. There was a grand ceremony where the England men’s senior squad held a training
session and several members of the FA were in attendance. The Royal couple, pictured
to the left, met with the England squad and management at the centre as they were
given a tour. The couple have also been pictured chatting with the England squad
after they cooled down in the hot tub after a training session. Prince William, an
active individual in the Armed Forces, and Kate Middleton, the hockey captain while
at Marlborough College, loved the facility.
Here is a picture of England’s Senior Men’s side training for one of the first times
at the facility. They come here to prepare for friendly, European qualifiers and
World Cup Qualifiers. They may also come here in the weeks leading up to a major
tournament, however tend to fly out to the location closer to the event. The likes
of Steven Gerrard and Theo Walcott have praised St. George’s Park and its incredible
facilities while the rest of the country will be hoping that all the hard work done
here will pay off on the pitch. With the amount of pitches and the site’s many unbelievable
features, would we really expect anything less from the country’s brightest stars?