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Too many foreign players in the Premier League

I must admit I do tend to agree with Bobby Charlton’s comments this week that having so many foreign players in the English Premier League is hampering the progress of English born talent and affecting the quality of the England national team.

Actually Bobby, the country’s record goalscorer with 49 goals and a member of the 1966 team that won the World Cup, put it more bluntly, saying England are unlikely to become world champions again because the Premier League is now flooded with foreign players.

I’ve said it for years now that the number of foreign players in England stifles the growth of the English player and for England to have a good team the young players have got to be playing. You can’t have them sitting on the bench, or not in the squad, not playing and not learning. The game is the best teacher so a coach telling you and not playing you is not going to work.

The player has to develop by playing and the more games he plays the better he is going to be, the longer he stays around the more mature he becomes. What’s happening in England right now is some Premier League teams play practically all foreign players and I think it has come a time for England to start saying ‘hey, we have to start cutting down on the foreign players and get our own kids playing’ like they do in Germany, Holland and places like that where there is a limit on the amount of foreign players.

When I played in Holland you were only allowed three foreign players on the field at any one time. I think three or four foreign players per team in England would be ideal, you don’t need any more than that because you are stifling the growth of the English player.

Of course I was a foreigner in England too, more than 40 years ago when I joined West Ham, but today Bermudians are not considered foreign when you get the British passport. Now there are tens times the amount of foreign players there today compared to when I played. You could probably count them on one hand when I was playing in England compared to today.

You have some teams that could field all foreign players, just look at the young boy at Chelsea, Scott Sinclair, who was a very good player who never got to play and had to go to Swansea to get his niche and now he’s gone to Manchester City and the same thing is happening. So what happens to a player like that?

Yes, I do believe that if England has aspirations of winning the World Cup then they do need young players on the field playing. You won’t do it by having a good under-21 team, a good under-18 or under-16 team, you have to have a good national team.

If you look at the foreign players, the ones who can play and who I call the finished article, you don’t have to tell them how to play because technique-wise they are sound. With a lot of English players technique lets them down sometimes, but you have to find a way to improve that. Look at a guy coming from Holland or a guy from Italy like Mario Balotelli, 22 years old who plays like a man who is 30 years old because his technique is so sound.

You have to put the time in to get something out, the more you practice, whether it be heading, volleying, shooting, dribbling, passing,. the better you will become.

I see the decision was made this week to introduce goal line technology into the Premier League starting next season and I don’t think it is a bad move because we have had so many blunders. In football today there is so much money in the game that a bad decision over a goal could cost a club millions of pounds. I don’t have a problem with the move as long as it doesn’t take long and interfere with the flow of the game.

I have been one of those people who has resisted it because I always said it is a human game, players miss chances and make mistakes and referees, too, are going to make mistakes. But we have seen it so frequently over the last couple of years with some big decisions and harsh decisions that have gone against various teams. Lets try it and see what happens.

The draw for the semi-finals of the Champions League was made yesterday and you have four teams left that are going to attack. It’s gong to be very interesting, Barcelona against Bayern Munich, who have gotten this far two years on the trot, and Real Madrid against Borussia Dortmund.

I Know Jupp Heynches, the Bayern coach and have played against him before and he’s a very nice man and what a way it would be for him to retire at the end of the season by going on to win the Champions League final at Wembley. He’s been a great player with Borussia Monchengladbach and the West German national team and won championships before so it would be nice to see him go out in style, though I’m hearing that he is reconsidering his decision to retire at the end of the season and could get offers from other clubs.

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Published April 13, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm)

Too many foreign players in the Premier League

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