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.
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.
According to The Daily Telegraph, The Duke of Cambridge told the Chelsea defender:
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.
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.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge then unveiled a plaque to officially open the site.
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 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.