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Sven urges all pupilsto play an active part

As Euro 2004 approaches, England's pupils are being urged to look to their footballing heroes for inspiration.

England football coach Sven-Goran Eriksson told The TES: "The championships provide a perfect opportunity to get children and adults involved in playing and learning through football."

He encouraged pupils to watch the championships but added: "Don't then turn your computer on. Take your friends, brother or sister, mum or dad down to the park and try to emulate what you have seen."

He said everyone needs at least three hours' exercise a week and that his squad has a role to play in generating enthusiasm among young people to take up football.

"We don't want children to get involved just for a few weeks. It is important that qualified coaches and teachers continue to motivate them," he said.

Sir Clive Woodward, whose World Cup-winning rugby squad takes on New Zealand tomorrow, said schools could adopt his training methods. "The things we have done with England - and players like Martin Johnson and Jonny Wilkinson agree - can be done by children," he said.

Sir Clive said British sports stars have to rely too heavily on luck to achieve their goals as programmes to help them develop are not in place in schools.

His fears were echoed by Trevor Brooking, the Football Association's director of development, who urged the Government to provide more money for school and community sport.

Mr Brooking said that properly-trained coaches must replace well-meaning but unqualified parent volunteers to ensure that children develop skills "free from the fear of being hollered at by angry parents".

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