England's national football centre St George's Park will officially be opened later today when the national squad greet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
A long overdue project, initial discussions date back to 1975, and on Tuesday the vision will finally be realised. The £100m facility will act as a home for all 24 England teams and a base to raise the profile of English coaching.
Gary Neville hailed it as "the greatest training facility" he has ever seen, and while comparisons with France's famed Clairefontaine complex are wide of the mark the FA has made a necessary step forward away from Charles Hughes' Jurassic and risible lectures.
St George's Park Factfile
- The senior training pitch replicates the exact dimensions of the pitch at Wembley Stadium.
- There are 11 outdoor pitches in total, five of which have floodlighting and undersoil heating.
- There is a full size indoor 3G artificial pitch with viewing gallery for up to 200 people.
- The centre boasts an indoor 60-metre sprint track with equipment to measure speed and running style.
- There is also a multi-sport indoor hall suitable for Futsal, badminton and netball, plus football pitches for the partially-sighted.
- The gym has the most up-to-date and high-quality equipment available thanks to a sponsorship agreement with Technogym.
- The Sports Medicine Centre, called Perform and run by Spire Healthcare, claims to be a world-class centre for sports medicine and research.
- There are dedicated practice and training area for goalkeepers.
- There is a 30m-long outdoor training hill with a 20-degree slope for fitness and conditioning.
- There are two hotels operated by Hilton under one roof as part of an agreement with the FA - one is a four-star with 142 rooms, where the England teams will stay and have their own private facilities, the other is a three-star hotel with 86 rooms.