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  1. ITV Report

Prince William makes joke at Ashley Cole's expense at opening of new FA centre St George's Park

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pose with the England team during the official launch of The FA's National Football Centre. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today opened a football centre of excellence which is hoped will revolutionise the national game.

The royal couple joined England manager Roy Hodgson and his squad at St George's Park - the Football Association's new £105 million complex which will aim to produce world class coaches and players.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge toured the site for around two hours. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Ahead of England's World Cup qualifier match against San Marino on Friday, the royal couple met Ashley Cole - who is at the centre of a Twitter row after posting a tweet attacking the Football Association.

Prince William reportedly made a joke at Ashley Cole's expense when they met at St George's Park. Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire

According to The Daily Telegraph, The Duke of Cambridge told the Chelsea defender:

If you continue to be a naughty boy they'll take your Twitter account off you.

ITV News' Martha Fairlie reports:

England captain Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard also broke off from their training session to talk to William and Kate as they toured the 330-acre site near Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire.

Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard talk to the royal couple. Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire

In a speech to mark the opening of the centre, William, the FA's president since 2006, said the benefits of St George's Park would be felt far beyond the world of football.

St George's Park, and the concept that underpins it, is something totally new. It will be far more than just a world-class facility for training our future world-beating national team.

It is more than just the university from which thousands of highly qualified coaches will graduate.

It is also a magnificent example of the sort of social initiative that brings opportunity and purpose to wider British life.

It will provide employment and a social hub for local people and, through the thousands of volunteers on which coaching relies, it will foster community spirit, purpose and hope throughout England.

– Duke of Cambridge

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge then unveiled a plaque to officially open the site.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge unveil a plaque at St George's Park. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Afterwards, Wayne Rooney spoke about meeting the Royal couple.

The FA hopes the complex - where coaches will be trained - will improve the quality of the people in the dugout and in turn boost the performance of players on the pitch.

The Duke of Cambridge talks to Tottenham's Jermain Defoe. Credit: Chris Jackson/The FA via Getty Images

The country's top footballers used the centre for the first time today and all of England's 24 national teams will train at the site ahead of international fixtures.

St George's Park's facilities:

  • 11 external pitches.
  • A dedicated practice and training area fro goalkeepers.
  • Sports pavilion for post-training de-briefs.
  • Hydrotherapy treatment pool.
  • A sports and exercise medicine, human performance and research centre.