Excellence Programme

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Excellence Programme

Post by Adam D on Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:12 am

As thousands of fans continue to support the 20 or so Northern Ireland players good enough to be selected for each senior International squad, they will surely be excited by the level of talent currently being produced through the Irish FA’s Centres of Excellence programme.

When speaking to Pascal Vaudequin, County Antrim Performance Coach, his belief that the next generation of Northern Ireland players might just be the most talented yet is clearly evident. “There has always been a number of young players leaving Northern Ireland to go to clubs across the water. However the statistics show that 87 per cent of them come home within two years for various reasons. At the Centres of Excellence, we have recognised that and have tried to instil a professional attitude amongst the young players, and this is now being recognised by the big clubs in England and Scotland.”

With the amount of foreign talent now being paraded in the top divisions in England and Scotland, making the grade as a professional has never been harder. However the Centres of Excellence have produced a number of bright prospects in recent years and they might just be the ones that buck the trend.

Pascal continued: “There have been many players that have moved to professional clubs after graduating from the Centres of Excellence. This season players have moved onto clubs such as Manchester United, Celtic, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, Liverpool and Ipswich Town among others, which can only be beneficial to their professional development.

"The Irish FA's Centres of Excellence programme has really taken our young players to a new level, and I for one am looking forward to them performing for the senior team in years to come.”

source - http://www.irishfa.com/grassroots/excellence-programme/

Adam D
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