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Page last updated at 07:52 GMT, Wednesday, 4 August 2010 08:52 UK

England World Cup form 'partly Premier League's fault'

Scudamore on England's failure

Richard Scudamore has said the Premier League is partly to blame for England's World Cup failure in South Africa but cannot take full responsibility.

The League's chief executive added it was simplistic to blame high numbers of foreign players for the poor showing.

"We want the England manager to be spoilt for choice, we will take some of that responsibility," he stated.

"But ultimately we don't pick the team, motivate them or organise the set-up, that's where our role ends."

Despite the Premier League being hailed by many as the world's leading domestic competition, that success has yet to be transformed into an improved England national team. In this year's World Cup they were eliminated in the second round having won only one of four matches and were subsequently ranked 13th best of the 32 entrants by Fifa - their lowest ranking.

What every England fan should expect is that the players we do produce are world class

Richard Scudamore

Critics have pointed to the high number of overseas players in teams, denying home-grown talent a chance to play but Scudamore insisted the aim of the Premier League was to provide top-class competition, regardless of players' nationalities.

Last season, about 42% of players who played in the Premier League were eligible for England and Scudamore said the competition had a duty to encourage and nurture the best talent available.

"If you go too far and try to artificially prop up English talent which isn't good enough it won't get the league or England anywhere," he reflected.

"Populating our league with players who aren't good enough to compete with the world's best won't be good.

"We have to make sure development systems are bringing through enough players of world-class talent.

"We're only a small island, we have to be realistic - there are, I think, 217 countries registered with Fifa. That's a lot of people playing football and England don't have a God-given right to win every tournament.

"But what every England fan should expect is that the players we do produce are world class and able to compete.

"They should be able to give world class performances at these tournaments - that's our focus."


He said Premier League officials "suffered like everybody else" when England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 , and it was "impossible to not feel partly responsible" for England's poor performance and subsequent last 16 exit at the hands of Germany in this summer's World Cup.

"It absolutely strengthens our resolve in terms of youth development and to make sure that the maximum number of young English players are identified to give the England team the best chance," he said.

"Then, I'm afraid, it is up to others to do with that resource what they do - our job stops at that point."

Even before England's World Cup disappointment, Premier League clubs had agreed to back proposals drawn by the League's head of youth development Ged Roddy after observing youth training in other countries and other sports.

The reform, possibly including 'football schools', will see top-flight academies told to provide 15-20 hours of coaching for their nine to 16-year-olds, rather than the current five hours.

That would be more in line with the coaching received in countries such as the Netherlands.

"I can envisage a day where in the north west of England we have a Premier League school where a number of clubs have their boys," said Scudamore.

"Or perhaps a sports school in London where a number of sports get together and have a school for elite athletes whether it be swimmers, runners, rugby players or whatever."

England crash out of the World Cup

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see also
England slip to worst Cup ranking
13 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Mueller blames England imbalance
30 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Scudamore questions FA structure
26 Mar 10 |  Premier League
How to watch Match of the Day
09 Aug 11 |  Match of the Day

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