Duncan’s French lesson

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PASSIONATE football coach Duncan Fearnhead is heading off on the opportunity of a lifetime.

Fearnhead, from Whalley, is to spend two-and-a-half weeks at the end of the month with Paris Saint-Germain at their Academy camp at Marcoussis, based at the France National Rugby Centre.

The 24-year-old will work with players aged 10-17. Each morning, he will watch over a split session, with an hour of physical training, and later a 90-minute technical session.

A second 90-minute technical session will then take place in the afternoon.

Fearnhead, who has worked for Blackburn Rovers as a development coach, as fitness coach at Radcliffe Borough and head of development with Preston North End women’s team, also runs the Blackburn town team Under-13s, and runs his own coaching courses and after school clubs as Elite Technique, setting up a junior football club under the same name.

And the UEFA C-licenced coach explained how the dream chance to work in Paris came about.

He said: “I’ve always preferred continental possession-based football, rather than the fast and furious percentage style used by a lot of English teams.

“I contacted four or five clubs in Spain, France and Holland asking if I could come in to see how they develop players.

“I sent a covering letter and my CV to a few clubs. FC Twente, PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid all contacted me saying they would allow me to spend some time at their clubs, observing coaching sessions, and to speak with the coaches.

I had started learning Spanish as I planned to travel to Madrid to spend time at the Atletico academy. Then Paris Saint-Germain rang to speak to me.

“I was then offered two weeks’ coaching work with the club, rather than just observing. I will also be spending a day with the first team during their pre-season preparations.”

Fearnhead intends to help develop his belief in the beautiful game – which is in little evidence in this country.

He said: “At all age groups, English players tend to be behind technically, which has been evident in every major international tournament in the last 20 years.

“Every time England have come up against a half-decent team, they have been dominated.

“Even Algeria in the World Cup last year looked better in possession , which demonstrates how England are standing still and everyone else moving forward.

“Soon people in the development of junior and youth players will realise and accept technique and intelligence are far more important than size as Spain and Barcelona have emphatically demonstrated in recent years.”