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Old 18th January 2008, 11:32   #1
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Default Howard Wilkinson lands new youth role

Howard Wilkinson lands new youth role
By David Bond
Telegraph 18/01/2008

Howard Wilkinson is set to assume a crucial new role chairing English football's youth management group, following a breakthrough in the long-running feud over the future strategy for coaching and developing young talent.

More than six months after Richard Lewis, the executive chairman of the Rugby Football League, published his review of youth development in this country, his recommendations are still waiting to be introduced.

A dispute between the FA, the Premier League and the Football League over who should control the new body has led to a stalemate.

But England's failure to qualify for the finals of Euro 2008 has highlighted the need to take urgent action to boost the coaching of young players coming through the Premier League and Football League academies.

Following a meeting of the Football League's board yesterday, administrators have finally approved a proposed structure for the group that will oversee the overhaul of the system.

Subject to the FA's approval, the four-man group will be chaired by former England caretaker manager and FA technical director Wilkinson and include the chief executives of the FA, Premier League and Football League.

The decision to appoint Wilkinson is a victory for the FA's director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking, who had repeatedly blocked the plans over fears the governing body would be outvoted on key decisions.

With Wilkinson leading the group, Brooking is hopeful the FA will have a greater say on the monitoring of work done by clubs.

Yesterday's breakthrough came a day after Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the players' union, the PFA, launched a strong attack on the impasse during a meeting of the FA council.

Taylor told fellow councilors the defeat by Croatia, which ended England's hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008, showed no more time could be wasted.
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