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Friday, 23 June, 2000, 07:20 GMT 08:20 UK
Travel is Leboeuf's England cure
Frank Leboeuf
Leboeuf and France are gunning for glory at Euro 2000
Chelsea's Frank Leboeuf believes the answer to England's Euro 2000 woes is for our stars to go to the continent's top clubs for a football finishing school.

While many observers are blaming the influx of foreigners into the Premiership for England's disastrous European championship campaign, the French defender is convinced more English players should be going in the opposite direction to polish their skills.

"I think the solution for England is for their best players to go abroad and get more experience," the 1998 World Cup medal winner said.

"That is the reason for France's strengths at the moment. Most of our players play abroad.

Teams like Spain, Germany or England are struggling because most of their players are still in their country

Frank Leboeuf
"But teams like Spain, Germany or England are struggling because most of their players are still in their country.

"Zidane became a better player in Italy and it's the same for me and Manu Petit in England.

"You get confidence and pick up different things, like in Italy there is great technique and in England they have great spirit."

Leboeuf joined Chelsea from French side Strasbourg in 1996 and has been a major contributor to the Blues' rising fortunes over the last four seasons.


While the majority of the French squad play abroad - including seven in England with more expected - Steve McManaman is the only England star currently playing abroad.

Steve McManaman
McManaman has thrived in Spain
And Leboeuf points to this as further evidence of how playing overseas can bring benefits.

"Steve McManaman is a good example because after just one season at Real Madrid he has become a much better player," he said.

"There are still plenty of good English players top clubs would like to buy and it would help them."

With English club football booming, Leboeuf admits that an exodus of domestic talent could have a negative effect on the Premiership, but said that is a risk worth taking.

"In France, because most of the good players play abroad, it does affect the quality of the championship and it's a difficult decision.

"But England must start putting their national team ahead of the league."

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22 Jun 00 | England
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