Home nations need a return on investment - Worthington

York Press: York City manager Nigel Worthington gets a closer look at the chocolate World Cup, held by York Chocolate Story’s head chocolatier Andrew Thwaite, watched by players Russell Penn, left, and Michael Coulson, right. York City manager Nigel Worthington gets a closer look at the chocolate World Cup, held by York Chocolate Story’s head chocolatier Andrew Thwaite, watched by players Russell Penn, left, and Michael Coulson, right.

NIGEL Worthington believes English football should be reaping greater rewards for their "phenomenal" investment in youth development.

The York City chief reckons England's early elimination from the current World Cup in the group stages illustrates that this country is not getting value for money for the sums of money dedicated to improving skills at the sport's grassroots level.

With the assistance of funding, the club's best academies on these shores - those with category one status - must now spend £1.5million a year on youth development.

At Bootham Crescent, meanwhile, City receive an annual injection of £200,000 for their academy due to its category three status.

Since the introduction of the Elite Player Performance Plan, all academies have a duty as well to provide a mandatory level of facilities and staff, which includes access to an indoor pitch, at least 20 computers, an academy doctor and a physiotherapist.

Worthington now wants to see results in the national team's performances to justify such expenditure.

The former manager of Northern Ireland from 2007 to 2011 also added that all the home nations must act quickly to avoid "lagging" even further behind on the international scene and has called for a comprehensive inquest into the falling standards.

Aside from England's recent travails, Scotland have not qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup finals, Northern Ireland last reached the finals stages in 1986 when Worthington was a member of the playing squad and Wales have only ever made one championships, back in 1958.

The City boss said: "When you look at it, it's clear that the home nations, not just England, are lagging further and further behind. The reasons for that have got to be looked at, whether it's about too many foreign players coming in or what.

"Personally speaking, from what I see, the amount of money being invested into youth and academy football in this country is phenomenal but the players are not being produced at the moment, so something is obviously wrong somewhere. I heard some politician saying we would be better as Great Britain but I don't think that would make any difference as the problems are right across all of the home countries."

Naming his stars of this summer's tournament, meanwhile, Worthington added: "Arjen Robben had a fantastic tournament for Holland, as did Costa Rica's keeper Keylor Navas and it's hard not to have been impressed with all of the German players."

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