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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 February, 2005, 05:53 GMT
Merson hits out at foreign focus
Arsenal celebrate on Monday
Former Arsenal star Paul Merson believes the England team could be affected because teams like the Gunners are focusing on foreign players.

Monday's 5-1 Premiership win over Crystal Palace marked the first time ever an English club squad was completely foreign.

"I think it's a joke, really, that's my opinion," said Merson.

"You can understand why England are struggling when top clubs like Arsenal have no English players playing."

Paul Merson
You've got to feel for the lads who are 16 and 17 coming through the ranks
Paul Merson

That view was endorsed by players' union boss Gordon Taylor, who attacked Arsenal's David Dein for failing to back Uefa's quota proposals.

"Arsene Wenger has a job to do, so I don't want to be critical of him," said Taylor.

"But this is a worrying pattern for English football. Are our stars of the future getting the opportunities they need?

"What worries me even more though is the attitude of David Dein. Here is a man, a prominent member of the FA's international committee, openly lobbying against Uefa's quota proposals."

Dein has dismissed the European governing body's plan, requiring a minimum of four home-grown players in squads from 2006, rising to eight two years later, as unworkable.

He claims it is almost certain to face a legal challenge for restraint of trade and that the quality of the Premier League would suffer if the ruling was imposed domestically.

But Taylor added: "The one thing the Football Association has got to do is protect the future interests of the game in England.

"Surely someone in David Dein's position should not be encouraging clubs to bring in even more foreign players."

Wenger backs non-English line-up
15 Feb 05 |  Arsenal

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