In Brief

England issue wristbands to stars as part of 'DNA' project

Three Lions ditch the balls in favour of bangles as FA reveals global domination plan

From balls to bangles in the space of three short months: that's the journey made by the Three Lions as the Football Association unveiled their latest cunning plan to make England great.

In September England coach Roy Hodgson stunned the media with a moment of old-fashioned plain speaking, when he described criticism of his team as "absolute f***ing b******s" after a dour 1-0 win over Norway in England's first match since the World Cup.

That kind of industrial language is not in vogue at the FA these days and the governing body was back on-message yesterday at the launch of a project called 'England DNA', which the Daily Mirror describes as England's "latest blueprint to conquer the footballing world".

The plan involves giving the players wristbands fitted with memory sticks they can plug into a computer or tablet. The "high-tech bangles" will enable Three Lions players "to do their homework while at their clubs by accessing video footage", explains the paper.

"We are looking to make that connection with players, so elements of the DNA we want to share with the players is on a memory-stick wristband," explained Matt Crocker, the FA's head of player and coach development. "The idea is when they are with their club, they have their wristband with them. So if they need to refer back to the player-specific montage or an element of our in-possession philosophy before they meet up with us, we are promoting that ability to connect with the players when they are not with us."

According to Crocker, young players today feel more comfortable with wristbands than the written word. While the Mirror notes that the FA seems to feel a lot more comfortable with jargon than plain speaking.

The microchips apparently reflect the trendy theme of the "DNA" briefing. And the event at St George's Park was awash with talk of "golden threads", "ticking boxes on the pathway" and "sharing the journey".  Fortunately no one at the FA produced a guitar and launched into a cover of David Brent's classic 'Free Love Freeway'.

But there was a serious point to the England DNA announcement, and it was former England defender Gareth Southgate who conveyed that message. Now in charge of the England Under-21s squad, Southgate said England had to face up to a few home truths.

"We can't just say it's unfair that foreign owners and foreign coaches aren't selecting English players [at club level], it's our responsibility to produce better English players," he said. "Germany won the World with a young side but also with enormous experience at international level and in the Champions League. We're also establishing a style of play which will stand them in good stead in the senior team."

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