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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 12:41 GMT
England failure 'would be good'
England manager Steve McClaren
Under-fire England boss Steve McClaren faces a tense weekend
Former England defender Paul Parker believes failure to qualify for Euro 2008 could be the wake-up call the English game needs.

If Russia beat Israel on Saturday, England will be all but eliminated from the qualification race for the finals.

"I hope England do not qualify because we really need to have a look at our game," Parker told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Youngsters are not coming through. We are told they are not good enough but they are not getting opportunities."

Parker was part of the last England side that failed to qualify for a major tournament, the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

We deserve to be in the finals because we've lost only once and that sums up our consistency

Russia striker Alexander Kerzhakov

And he says the authorities must address the issue of foreign players and English players coming through the ranks.

"We keep using the excuse that there are no players coming through which I think is feeble," he added.

"Despite that, we want to jump on plans and drag players in from abroad and yet they are good enough.

"Football has become a must-win business. Managers can't take gambles because they are being put under pressure for their jobs due to the amount of money in the game.

"There is something wrong with England as a whole that we are not producing players. We are not bothered about looking for talent here.

"If England do not qualify, I would like to think there would be a review of the game.

Paul Parker tangles with Germany's Karl Heinz-Riedle in 1991
Parker won 19 caps for England at right back

"Hopefully, we would start right at the very bottom and try to improve our game by using English players at the top clubs rather than seeing them being sent out on loan.

"We can't look at it and just hope. If Israel get some kind of result and England get through, do we just sweep it under the carpet? I think that will be completely wrong because we need to get it sorted out."

Meanwhile, Russia striker Alexander Kerzhakov says England are struggling to qualify for Euro 2008 because money has diminished the work ethic of the players.

"England have a team of big stars who earn an awful lot of money from playing with their private deals," he said.

"Russia have a compact group of players who don't have anywhere near as much money, but with far more hard workers on the field. That's the difference between the countries.

"That's why we are in a strong position and England have been left just hoping."

England need Israel to pick up at least a point against Russia, or for Macedonia to beat Croatia, if they are to realistically stay in with a chance of qualifying.


And Kerzhakov says he has little sympathy for England's plight.

"I understand that the Euro 2008 finals without players like Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney would be strange," he said.

"But England have not performed on the field and Russia have more points, so that is how it should be.

"It isn't always the superstars who win football matches. We deserve to be in the finals because we've lost only once and that sums up our consistency."

England take on Austria in a friendly on Friday before their final qualifying game against Croatia next Wednesday.

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