St George's Park: A look around the new £105m facility

In 2001, the Football Association first mooted the idea of a national centre of excellence. This shot shows the 330-acre site in 2004 when work was halted because of financial worries. However, the project was resurrected in 2008 with the aim of providing a training base for all England teams, as well as a centre of excellence to improve coaching in the country.
On Tuesday, 9 October 2012 - four years after work began again - David Sheepshanks, chairman of St George's Park, is among those to officially open the facility. "This is a deliberately long-term view. Really it is the investment in coaches that is crucial and from 2020 onwards we will have winning England teams," he said.
Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA's director of football development, was one of the key players in getting the project going again. "There are three key age groups - 5-11, 12-16 and 17-21," he said. "We have to focus on those first two age groups and produce quality England players who are good enough to break into a Premier League club's first team at the age of 18 or 19."
The reception area at St George's Park will welcome players, coaches and guests as they arrive at the facility. The badges of the Professional Footballers' Association and League Managers' Association are displayed as they will also be on site. While mainly for the England national sides, teams from around the world will be welcome to train here and the local community in Burton-on-Trent will also benefit.
A panoramic shot of the Sir Alf Ramsey indoor training pitch at St George's Park. Former England managers have been remembered at the complex with suites or areas named after them to give nods to the country's past. The centre provides a base for all 24 England teams, from the senior men's and women's sides down to the junior boys' and girls' teams.
Suites and rooms are also dedicated to England's greatest players from Paul Gascoigne to Sir Bobby Charlton. There is also the Alan Shearer pitch, which is one of 12 full-size training pitches. The facility also has a grass replica of the Wembley surface which will help England sides prepare for playing at home in crucial World Cup and European Championship qualifiers.
This iconic image of Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough with the European Cup is sure to inspire players young and old in all squads and emphasises how it's not just the players, but coaches who will be training at St George's. Elsewhere, there is a message from great American Olympian Jesse Owens, who said: "A lifetime of training for just 10 seconds."
One of the dressing rooms at St George's Park. The England men's senior team arrived this week for the first time ahead of the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland. The players will also see the words "Practice Makes Permanent" adorning the wall as they walk through the corridors to their vast dressing room.
The complex features many luxuries including these indoor pools which will also be used by players to relax, train in and help with injury recovery. The cutting edge of sport is everywhere, including sports science laboratories, altitude chambers and multiple gymnasiums.
One of the 11 outdoor pitches, five of which are floodlit and have undersoil heating, which will help in the winter months. Former England manager Graham Taylor praised the top-class facilities at St George's Park. "It's a great facility. All the other countries have football centres. I can't see it being anything other than a positive," he said.
The Hilton Hotel on site will accommodate England squads and includes private dining area and games rooms. England women's captain Casey Stoney believes that will be a massive help to players by saving time wasted by travelling. "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," she said.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge opened St George's Park in a grand ceremony. The Royal couple met with the England squad and management at the centre as they were given a tour.
Also on Tuesday, England's senior side trained at the new facility ahead of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland. Manager Roy Hodgson oversaw proceedings as the squad played a training match on one of the new pitches.
Whether or not the current crop will achieve success remains to be seen but the overall aim will be to ensure English football can progress and recreate days like these as Bobby Moore kisses the World Cup trophy in 1966. The former England captain features heavily at St George's Park. Moore is adorned on one wall receiving the trophy and the FA will hope their massive investment will see another captain lift a major trophy in the future.