Grassroots is key, says former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams

Tony Adams talks to the crowd at the opening of Inside Football on Friday Picture: Tom Wren

Tony Adams talks to the crowd at the opening of Inside Football on Friday Picture: Tom Wren

First published in Gloucestershire Sport Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

FORMER England and Arsenal captain Tony Adams fears for the future of the national team unless steps are taken to give more support to grassroots football.

Adams, who won 66 international caps, believes investing in grassroots will increase the chances of unearthing the next generation of top English players.

His comments came at the launch of Inside Football - an indoor 3G football pitch at Brimscombe Port - on Friday, December 3.

He questioned why fewer English youngsters are breaking through into the country's top teams and stressed the importance of facilities like Inside Football.

"These indoor facilities are so needed," said Adams, who lives near Cirencester.

"If I had it my way I would put one in every borough in the country.

"More has to be done at grassroots level to encourage the next generation of English talent."

Following his hugely successful playing career, Adams has enjoyed stints in charge of Wycombe and Portsmouth and spent time coaching in Holland.

He continues to work with Gabala FC in Azerbaijan, the club he left as manager in 2011.

"As a country we are falling behind," he said.

"There is a reason only 24 per cent of English league players are British and there are only four English coaches in the Premier League.

"In Azerbaijan they are building facilities like this all over the country.

"In Holland the vision is that every child can cycle to an indoor football facility.

"Children need a safe environment to practise their skills."

Adams argued that not enough cash is trickling down to grassroots level.

"We have coaches on such poor money. It's not respected," he said.

"We need to change that mentality."

For more information about Inside Football see www.insidefootball.net

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