THE Chief Executive of the Football Association of Wales hopes a revamp of Colliers Park will provide players from Wrexham for the national team.

Speaking to the Leader at the turf-cutting ceremony to mark the start of a multi-million revamp of Wrexham AFC's former training ground in Gresford, FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford said the area "is important to Welsh football" and "must not be forgotten".

He said: "This didn't happen by accident, it is part of the legacy of Euro 2016 and what a lovely way to circle it around by bringing this development here.

"I remember thinking what a great local facility it was even back when Dean Saunders was the manager of Wrexham and we are delighted to play a part in developing this great facility.

"It is needed, because the reality is we can't draw players and people away from North Wales and Wrexham to travel to South Wales, and we must not forget this is an important area for Welsh football.

"Even when the Racecourse Ground was used for a national team training session this summer, you could see the appetite in the size of the crowd that was there."

The new National Football Development Centre at Colliers Park, opening in May 2019, will complement the FAW’s existing facility at Dragon Park, Newport.

The centre will further benefit Welsh football nationally and locally by delivering accessible and high class training facilities for talented young players and the wider football workforce in North Wales.

The training facility developments will include two top quality grass pitches and a FIFA quality 3G pitch, in addition to off pitch support facilities including activation areas, learning suites and

changing facilities.

Working in partnership with Wrexham Glyndŵr University, the FAW will endeavour to improve recruitment, skills and learning in coaching, refereeing, sports performance and medicine.

The £5m investment in North Wales is provided by financial sponsors FIFA and UEFA and includes £500k funding support from Welsh Government and Sport Wales.

The FAW's newly appointed vice-president Steve Williams, who is from Wrexham, said: "We all know football founded up here. We want equal facilities, what we've got down in the south, we want up north and I am delighted to see this coming here."

Wrexham Glyndŵr University, Vice Chancellor Professor Maria Hinfelaar said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with the Football Association of Wales on the new National Football Development Centre at Colliers Park, which will incorporate an education facility for our students on Sports Science and Sports Coaching degree programmes, enabling them to utilise state-of-the-art facilities.

"This is part of our Campus 2025 strategy to significantly invest in all areas of our campuses and facilities, putting students at the heart of everything we do and contributing to our local community.”

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas said: “I’m delighted Welsh Government have been able to support and help fund this significant development at Colliers Park as we look to build on what is unquestionably a golden age for Welsh sport and football in particular.

"Euro 2016, Wales women’s World cup qualification campaign, Premier League club representation, individual brilliance and hosting the UEFA Champions League finals have all excited and inspired in equal measure and it’s a real boost to the region and Welsh football more broadly to see such high-class facilities come to Wrexham to help the next wave of Welsh talent flourish.

“It’s also extremely pleasing to see the partnership between the FAW, Glyndwr University and others ensure there’s an equal focus on the complimentary aspects of elite sport, which of course will mean this project will benefit a wider range of people with a broad range of aspirations and ambitions.”

Sport Wales CEO, Sarah Powell added: “Sport Wales is delighted to be supporting a facility that will enable talented boys and girls to enjoy training and playing football in a high-quality environment and support them as they strive to progress. This is an exciting development for North Wales and we hope that women and girls in particular will benefit from the Centre and that the region’s strong tradition of developing young footballers is enhanced further.”