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JOSE MOURINHO reckons England must sort out its youth system if the national team is to challenge for major tournaments.
The Three Lions start their qualification campaign for the 2010 World Cup on Saturday against Andorra.

And Fabio Capello is under pressure to deliver after previous boss Steve McClaren failed to take the to Euro 2008.

England's senior stars have failed to shine in the big games in recent years but ex-Chelsea boss Mourinho believes the problems run much deeper.

The new Inter Milan manager said: "The country has to establish a better development programme if it wants to qualify for, and win, major tournaments.

"This is not just a problem for the FA, it should be a problem for the manager of the national side too.

"He has a responsibility to make the good players, and then to take players who are already good and help them grow into great ones.

"He should not only be working for himself but for the country and for the future of its football."

Mourinho reckons youth players at Premier League clubs must be tested on a regular basis as they progress.

He added: "One of the things I found most surprising during my time in England was the way youth football was run.

"Many people were making a lot of noise about the centre of excellence that should have been set up at that time at Burton.

"But I believe the problems were a lot deeper than that. Yet the solution was, perhaps, so simple.

"It used to amaze me that the younger age groups at Chelsea were only able to play the same age teams of Liverpool or Manchester United maybe only once a year.

"The way the competition calendar is set up in England is wrong. The best young players in the country must play the best opposition every week.

"I just think it would have been nice to have seen 14-year-olds from Liverpool and Manchester United playing 14-year-olds from Chelsea two or three times a season.

"The best in the country playing against each other – that is the best way to improve the national side.

"The responsibility lies not just with the England manager but the manager of every Premier League club.

"I know that many of the managers of English clubs are not English, and many of their players are not English either, but when you are working in someone else's county you have a responsibility to improve the way things work there."
 
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