Green gives back

Robert Green took time out from packing his kit for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to open the Norfolk FA's new Football Development Centre.

The West Ham United and England goalkeeper has strong ties to the county, coming through the ranks at Norwich City before going on to make 241 first-team appearances for the Canaries.

Green spent four years with the club's Academy between 1992 and 1996 before making his debut in an East Anglian derby with Ipswich Town at the age of just 19 in April 1999.

During his time at Norwich, Green was capped by England at Under-16, U18, B and senior level, making his full debut against Colombia in May 2005.

Since joining the Hammers in August 2006, the 30-year-old has made a further 152 first-team appearances and become England's No1 goalkeeper, earning ten caps in total.

After unveiling a special plaque to mark the centre's opening, Green met aspiring local young footballers before speaking to members of the media about his impending inclusion in England's World Cup squad, as well as the Three Lions' chances of success in South Africa.

"This facility can encourage people and can really help promote football within the community," said Green. "It will encourage kids to play football and help Norfolk and Norwich in both a football sense and a community sense."

Plaque

The centre, situated in the Norwich suburb of Bowthorpe, boasts eight small-sided pitches and one larger arena, all of which are fully floodlit and possess state-of-the-art third-generation surfaces. The Norfolk FA hope the facility will encourage youngsters to become involved in grassroots football.

City College Norwich will also use the centre as the base for a host of sports-related courses, including NVQs in Sport, Recreation and Allied Occupations and the BTEC National Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science.

For more information about the Football Development Centre, click here.