Howard Wilkinson believes England’s run to the final of the European Championship for the first time in their history is proof the ‘Charter for Quality’ he introduced to develop players and coaches is working.
England went ahead in the tournament showpiece against Italy on Sunday evening before being pegged back, and following a 1-1 draw after extra time, Gareth Southgate’s side suffered a heartbreaking defeat on penalties.
But Wilkinson, a former caretaker of the national side and the last English manager to win a top-flight title in England after leading Leeds to First Division glory in 1991-92, reckons there is plenty of reason for optimism.
In 1997, Wilkinson, in his role as Football Association technical director, launched a charter with player development, academies and “the strategy for the development of international players and coaches” at its core.
Wilkinson thinks his brainchild remains as relevant now as it was then and he hopes Southgate can “finish the job” in the future if he decides to continue leading England.
“We did not lose the game, after 120 minutes the result was 1-1, we lost a penalty shoot-out,” Wilkinson told the PA news agency.
“Our international player and coach development strategy is working and hopefully Gareth will go away, rest, relax recuperate, want to continue and finish the job.
“We have some excellent young players and more are coming. The academies are now working really effectively.”