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Cooper: We are seeing the fruits of Academy investment

25 Nov 2022

Nott'm Forest head coach assesses how Premier League's EPPP has promoted homegrown talent

Steve Cooper has seen at first hand how the Premier League's Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) has played a pivotal role in helping young talent shine in the global arena.

Before taking over at Swansea City and now Nottingham Forest, Cooper was heavily involved in the England youth set-ups. In 2017 he led the Under-17s to FIFA Under-17 World Cup glory as well as the final of the UEFA European U17 Championships.

See: Key facts about the impact of the EPPP

"I've been very lucky to work with England where you get, on the basis I got my selection right, the best players in the country and [we were] not just competing against the top teams but we were also outplaying them and beating them," he says.

"There's some amazing work that's gone on over the last 10 years from EPPP to the creativity of our coaching courses.

"Down the line, we are seeing the fruits of that, we are really competing on a world stage."

More and better homegrown players

The EPPP was introduced in 2012/13 in consultation with the English Football League, The FA and clubs with the aim of developing a world-leading Academy system that produces more and better homegrown players.

It works not only to hone skills on the pitch but to offer education and personal development off it.

And having led Forest to the Premier League, Cooper is now seeing the work of the Academy system at first hand.

"Most players who go through the Academy system now can handle the ball and want to play," Cooper says.

"Learning has changed also. Our players are expected to voice their opinions, analyse and collaborate. In a different era, it was all about being told what to do.

"But if you have an opinion on something, you have more accountability, understanding and you have more belief in what you are doing."

Also in this series

Part 1: EPPP report highlights decade of progress in youth development
Part 2: Key facts about the impact of the EPPP
Part 3: England World Cup squad built on Academies' work
Part 5: Lampard: Academies are producing technically better players
Part 6: Creating access and opportunity for all
Part 7: Helping Academy players reach their potential
Part 8: Taking care of Academy players
Part 9: Creating a world-leading Academy workforce
Part 10: Saunders: We can be proud of youth development progress

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