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Last Updated: Monday, 21 February, 2005, 08:00 GMT
Football's foreign policy under fire
Southampton manager Harry RedknappArsenal head of Youth Development Liam BradyPFA chief executive Gordon TaylorSouthampton defender Claus LundekvamFormer Wimbledon keeper and current Spurs goalkeeping coach Hans Segers

English football's foreign legion appear to be under fire from all sides.

Last week critics rounded on Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger for picking an entirely non-English squad for the 5-1 win over Crystal Palace.

While in Europe, governing body Uefa has announced the introduction of foreign player limits in European competitions from 2006.

Many worry the foreign invasion may be stifling homegrown talent and the national side's future.

Even Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has waded into the row by promising not to choose an entirely overseas squad.

But are there too many foreign players in English football and is it good for the game? Key figures across the footballing spectrum give their views:

PREMIERSHIP MANAGER

  • Southampton boss Harry Redknapp:
    "I think foreign players have made an incredible impact on football over here.

    "The standard has gone up 100%. Of course less English players get the chance to progress but if they're not good enough, that's the way it is.

    "The best kids always get through. If you want the best team, then players like Thierry Henry will be there, but the Rio Ferdinands and Ashley Coles will break into the team if they're good enough.

    "This country has produced some fantastic players over the years, but foreign players have come in and changed British habits, such as drinking and fitness, which can only be a good thing."

    YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

  • Arsenal youth development head Liam Brady:
    "We are very committed to youth development for all our young players whether they are from here or abroad.

    "If anyone wants to question whether Arsenal's youth policy is working they should have a look at the results our young players produced in the Carling Cup at Everton and Manchester City."

    PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALLERS ASSOCIATION

  • PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor:
    "I think it is damaging for the England team and we have to give our players a chance.

    "It is a shame there is such a scarcity of players for the national team manager to consider at one of our top clubs.

    "Even when everyone is fit at Arsenal, on merit there would be just two Englishmen."

    PREMIERSHIP PLAYER

    Claus Lundekvam

  • Southampton and Norway defender Claus Lundekvam:
    "The standard of football has changed quite dramatically, especially over the last five years.

    "A lot of players have been coming from abroad and they're all very good players, so I think the standard has been raised the last few years.

    "I think it's all for the good to get some new input from abroad.

    "All the big clubs in the country want to attract the best players around and not neccessarily the best players are British, so it's very different to say.

    "The game we're in now is very competitive and to compete on that sort of level, you need the best players and where you're from doesn't matter at the end of the day."

    FORMER FOREIGN PLAYER

  • Former Wimbledon goalkeeper and current Tottenham goalkeeping coach Hans Segers:
    "Clubs are looking for success and to do that they have to go abroad.

    "And obviously that brings up a very high standard and British players have to compete at a very high standard.

    "The level of football has gone from good to very good, but looking from my side now the young players and goalkeepers find it really hard to come through now in bigger clubs.

    "In the past it was a lot easier, but now clubs are more business-minded and can't afford to play too many youngsters.

    "Obviously, if they're good enough they'll come through but it stops youngsters playing on a regular basis because in their position someone else is there, so that is the problem."




  • SEE ALSO
    Uefa threat over foreign quotas
    16 Feb 05 |  Football
    Merson hits out at foreign focus
    16 Feb 05 |  Arsenal
    Wenger backs non-English line-up
    15 Feb 05 |  Arsenal
    Uefa sets foreign player limits
    03 Feb 05 |  Europe


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