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Barcelona visit will boost St George's Park success bid

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 03, 2014

By Rob Smyth

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THE man that oversees the national football centre has spoken of the impact that having one of the best teams in the world has had on the site.

St George's Park Chairman David Sheepshanks spoke to the Mail after Spanish giants Barcelona waved goodbye to the footballing hub after spending nearly a week getting fit for the new season in the East Staffordshire countryside.

He said the fact that a club which is able to spend £75 million on one player chose to visit the £105 million centre is testament to its success.

He told the Mail: "Barcelona have been training here and, as much as we talk about the success of St George's Park, you can't say anything better to demonstrate that than Barcelona have taken the exceptional decision of coming to St George's Park for a whole week because the facilities and environment are so good.

"We've only just started this journey. St George's Park is for the long-term and it's what happens over the next ten to 15 years that is really going to set the standard for English football – our investment in coach education and providing the England teams with their own home."

Barcelona departed on Saturday after spending six days at the centre.

The arrival of players such as Xavi saw press from across the world descend on Burton in a bid to catch a glimpse of one of the stars.

However, autograph hunters were left disappointed as security was beefed up during the visit to ensure the team and staff were not disturbed.

The prestige of welcoming Barcelona will only enhance plans by bosses at the centre as it looks to grow during the coming years as part of expansion plans.

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